Boat safety! Whether you are in Pennsylvania or New Jersey , on a lake or an ocean – if it’s summer, it’s boating season. Not to rain on your nautical parade, but before setting sail, revving up the engine, or manning the oars as the case may be, think about these few boat safety tips brought to you courtesy of the The U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division and the Coast Guard Auxiliary –
- Make sure you monitor the weather forecast and leave a float plan with someone on shore that can call the Coast Guard if you are overdue. A float plan will give details of your expected location and timing in order to assist any potential search and rescue operations that might be necessary should you run into trouble.
- Leave such a plan with someone dependable.
- Proper Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers should be strategically placed on board the boat.
- Place them in the rear (stern), and bow, as well as at the helm. The idea is to avoid having the extinguisher on the other side of the fire.
- The Coast Guard suggests that every person on board wear a life jacket and do not permit riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales.
- Drowning is the number one cause of boating fatalities and the most preventable.
- Life jackets should be properly fitted prior to use and recommends labeling them accordingly so that everyone knows which one is theirs.
Boating Safety Courses
- Of course, boat safety courses are a must for boaters.
- Courses can often make you eligible for discounts on insurance coverage. Check with your agent to see about discounts available, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons or the American Red Cross for applicable courses.
- Properly equip your boat with safety devices such as
- a first aid kit,
- a tool kit,
- spare parts,
- a flashlight,
- navigation lights,
- a whistle, horn or bell.
- Be sure to look for expiration dates and keep your supply fresh.
- There’s something about boating that invites one to pop the top and enjoy a cold one. Not a good idea for the skipper.
- Naturally, as with driving, there is a high correlation between alcohol consumption and boating fatalities.
- Alcohol was involved in more than one third of all boating fatalities The U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division reports.
- Each time you go out, before operating the vessel check the engine, fuel, and electrical and steering systems for leaks.
- A free vessel safety check is available for most by calling the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at 1-800-368-5647 or visiting here
Before setting out, review your insurance coverages with your agent. While canoes, small sail boats and boats equipped with motors that are less than 25 mph may be covered under a homeowners or renters insurance policy, larger and faster boats (including jet skis and wave runners) require a separate boat insurance policy. A typical policy will cover Bodily Injury (to others), Property Damage (for damage to someone else’s property), guest passenger liability for any legal expenses incurred by a guest in operating the boat with your permission, medical payments and theft. Boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy for additional protection for their car, home and boat.
Boating can be an excellent and rewarding recreational activity. Doing it responsibly will ensure years of smooth sailing. Anchors aweigh!