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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.