Safe Boating Tips
Before leaving shore, file a float plan with a reliable friend, neighbor or relative who will report your absence to authorities; do not file the plan with the Coast Guard. And don't forget to contact the plan's holder if your plans change. Get more information or print a sample float plan (in Adobe format) at Float Plan Central .
Keep these points in mind whenever venturing out on the water:
- THE CAPTAIN IS ALWAYS RESPONSIBLE for the safety of the crew and vessel.
- Complete a boating safety course and get a vessel safety check.
- Life jackets (Personal Flotation Devices, PFDs) should be worn whenever underway and are required for children under 13 unless below deck in an enclosed cabin.
- Alcohol is not an element of safe boating operation.
- Check your safety gear; insure it is fully functional. A VHF radio for communications is usually much better than a cell phone.
- Be sure to carry first aid supplies along with plenty of water, sun screen and bug spray.
- Check the weather and tidal forecast; be alert for approaching weather changes.
- Be familiar with your boat, especially its maneuvering characteristics.
- Know and follow boating “rules of the road.”
- Stay away from tugs, towboats, large ships and military vessels.
- Always be on the lookout for hazards and other boaters.
- Read the owner’s manual for your boat.
- Always show consideration to others, be courteous, and apply common sense to the operation of your boat.