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SECURITY LEVELS

Safety Suggestions

Safety Suggestions

 
Vessel Condition
The operator should assure that a vessel is in top operating condition and that there are no tripping hazards or sharp edges exposed. The vessel should be free of fire hazards and have clean bilges.
Loading Your Vessel
Keep the load low and evenly distributed. Do not exceed the capacity label.
Anchoring
To anchor, bring the bow into the wind or current and put the engine in neutral. When the vessel comes to a stop, lower, do not throw, the anchor over the bow. The anchor line should be 5 to 7 times the depth of the water. Do not anchor by the stern.
Fueling Precautions
Fill portable tanks off the vessel. Close all hatches and other openings before fueling. Extinguish smoking materials. Turn off engines and all electrical equipment, radios, stoves and other appliances.
Wipe up any spilled fuel immediately. Open all hatches to air out the vessel. Run the blower for at least four minutes, and then check the bilges for fuel vapors before starting the engine. Never start the engine until all traces of fuel vapors are eliminated. Your nose is the best known vapor detector.
 
Fuel Management
Practice the "One-Third Rule" by using one-third of the fuel going out, one-third to get back and one-third in reserve.
 
Marine Rated Parts
Do not use automotive parts to replace such items as starters, distributors, alternators, generators, carburetors; fuel pumps, etc. because they are not ignition protected and could cause a fire or explosion.
 
Weather
Check the weather reports before leaving shore and remain watchful for signs of bad weather. Listen to National Weather Service Weather Radio. If a Small Craft Advisory is posted, get in to shore immediately as the winds are or will be too high to operate your vessel safely.
 
Float Plan
Tell a responsible friend or relative where you are going and when you plan to return. Make sure they have a complete description of your vessel and other information that will make identification of your vessel easier should the need arise. Always contact the person you left your float plan with upon your return.
 
Small Boats and Water Activities
Many hunters and anglers do not think of themselves as boaters, but use semi-v hull vessels, flat-bottom Jon boats or canoes to pursue their sports. These boats tend to be unstable and easily capsized. Capsizing, sinking and falls overboard account for 70% of boating fatalities and these facts mean you must have a greater awareness of the boat's limitations and the skill and knowledge to overcome them.
Standing in a small boat raises the center of gravity, often to the point of capsizing. Standing for any reason or even changing position in a small boat can be dangerous, as is sitting on the gunwales or seat backs. A wave or sudden turn may cause a fall overboard or capsizing because of the raised center of gravity.
 
Staying Afloat
It is common belief that someone dressed in heavy clothing or waders will sink immediately if they fall overboard. This is not true. Air trapped in clothing provides considerable flotation, and bending at the knees will trap air in waders, providing additional flotation. To stay afloat, remain calm, do not thrash about or try to remove clothing or footwear. This leads to exhaustion and increases the loss of air that keeps you afloat. Keep your knees bent, float on your back and paddle slowly to safety.
 
Cold Water Survival
Sudden immersion in cold water can induce rapid, uncontrolled breathing, cardiac arrest, and other life threatening situations which can result in drowning. Wearing a PFD will help reduce this condition. If you must enter the water, button up your clothing, wear a PFD, cover your head if possible and enter the water slowly. Hypothermia is the loss of body heat and immersion in water speeds the loss of heat. If your boat capsizes it will likely float on or just below the surface. Outboard powered vessels built after 1978 are designed to support you even if full of water or capsized. To reduce the effects of hypothermia get in or on the boat. Try to get as much of your body out of the water as possible. If you can't get in the boat a PFD will enable you to keep your head out of the water. This is very important because about 50% of body heat is lost from the head. It may be possible to revive a drowning victim who has been under water for considerable time and shows no signs of life. Numerous documented cases exist where victims have been resuscitated with no apparent harmful effects after long immersions. Start CPR immediately and get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.
 
Always be considerate of other water enthusiasts. Be responsible. Be safe. Your life may depend upon it!