Stay safe on the water

Preparation:

  • Alcohol and drugs don't mix with boat operation. They reduce your ability to make quick decisions and to handle your craft in all situations. A study in four states showed that 51% of those killed in boating accidents had been drinking.
  • Take a boating safety course to learn the rules, regulations and safe practices.
  • Practice the "one third” rule by using one third of the fuel going out, one third coming in and keeping a third in reserve.
  • Share your "float plan" with a friend, so they know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before starting out. Watch for changes in waves, wind or clouds that signal the approach of bad weather.

On the water:

  • Wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. It should have at least a 50 m.p.h. impact rating.
  • Keep a sharp lookout for other vessels, swimmers and objects. Know where other boats are before you make a turn or cross a wake.
  • Never operate your boat in the dark without proper lighting.
  • Follow markers and signs.
  • Stay clear of vegetation.
  • Don't go out alone.
  • Do not exceed the maximum load limit.
  • Cold water chills the body 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. If you fall off your boat, get back on board as quickly as possible.

Good online resources: