Boating Safety Notes
Boating Safety Boating season is now upon us and that means inexperienced and irresponsible boaters can cause accidents, injury and death on the waterways.
It is estimated that more than 90 percent of those people in North America who drown were occupants of small boats. Contributing factors to these accidents include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience.
To prevent boating accidents, we offer the following safety suggestions for you, your family and your friends.
Essential Equipment Under Federal Equipment Requirements, all, vessels must be numbered and/or documented, and must carry a Personal Floatation Device for every individual on board. Additionally, most vessels are required to carry following equipment, depending on the size and type of the craft:
- sound-producing devices
- visual distress signals
- fire extinguisher
- backfire flame control
- navigation lights (for nighttime operation)
BEFORE SETTING OUT
- Check weather forecasts
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return
- Check engine, fuel, electrical and steering systems, especially for exhaust system leaks
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is readily accessible and in condition for immediate use
- Equip your boat with required navigation lights and a whistle, horn or bell
- Consider additional safety devices such as: a paddle or oars, first-aid kit, supply of fresh water, tool kit, flash light, flares, radio, anchor, heaving line, ring buoy, binoculars and spare parts and batteries
CARE AND PROTECTION OF THE CREW AND GUESTS
- DO NOT OPERATE A VESSEL UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL!
- Make sure every person on board wears a life jacket
- Know and obey marine traffic laws and learn the distress signals
- Keep on the lookout for other water craft, swimmers, floating debris and shallow waters
- Pay attention to loading. Don't over load or distribute the load unevenly
- Don't stand up or shift weight suddenly in a small boat
The ability to enjoy your boat and the waters requires knowledge, skill and common sense. Know your boat; the equipment on board; the safety devices; the effects of alcohol and other stressors; first-aid and emergency procedures; the environment, area and weather.
And if you do not have any formal boating and safety instructions, take a course right away. Nearly 80 percent of all boating fatalities are caused by boaters who have no formal instruction. Compare that to 3 percent of fatalities caused by those who have state training and 4.4 percent by boaters who have U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron or American Red Cross in instruction.
You can obtain free advice and boating safety courses from the U.S. Coast Guard by calling 1-800-368-5647.
* This list is not absolute and should not be viewed as complete. Additional safety equipment may be necessary depending on the size, location and use of your boat.
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