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Essential Resources for All Types of Boaters


Accident/ Casualty Report Form

image of USCG Recreational Boating Accident Report formFederal law requires the operator, or owner if the operator is deceased or unable to make the report – to file a Recreational Boating Accident Report with the State reporting authority:

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Box 30370
Lincoln, NE  68503

when, as a result of an occurrence that involves a boat or its equipment:

  • A person dies,
  • A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury,
  • A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid,
  • Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 (lower amounts in some states and territories) or more,
  • The boat is destroyed.

Each boat operator/owner involved in an accident should submit a separate report.

See also, the Code of Federal Regulations 33 CFR Part 173, Subpart C - Casualty and Accident Reporting for further information.


Aquatic Invasive Species

image of propeller heavily encrusted with Zebra musselsAquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are exotic or non-native aquatic organisms that pose a significant threat to the aquatic resources, water supplies or water infrastructure of this state. These organisms can be plants, fish, mussels, crayfish, invertebrates or pathogens.  They have the potential to become aquatic nuisance species (ANS).  ANS may displace native species, degrade native habitats, spread disease, and disrupt human social and economic activities that depend on water resources.

Two of the aquatic invasive species in Nebraska are the Zebra mussel and the  Quagga mussel.

You can help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers by simply Clean, Drain & Dry before leaving any water access point:

CLEAN – watercraft, trailer, motor, and equipment. REMOVE visible aquatic plants, mussels, other animals, and mud before leaving any water access location.

DRAIN – water from boat, bilge, motor and livewell by removing drain plug and opening all water draining devices away from the boat ramp. Regulations require this when leaving access points in many states and provinces.

DRY – everything at least five days before going to other waters and landings or SPRAY/RINSE recreation equipment with high pressure and/or hot water (120°F/50°C or higher).

For a detailed explanation about how to properly decontaminate your vessel and trailer, the University of Nebraska has published the following guidelines and video tutorials.


Beacon Registration

If you are planning to sail or cruse on a lake, river, off-shore or make a run up or down the coast or waterway, you need an EPIRB onboard and PLBs on your life jacket(s).  The NOAA SARSAT Beacon Registration website will provide you with all the information you need to initially register beacon(s), periodically update your registration information, or dispose of your EPIRB and PLB.  Additional information includes FAQ, information about the SARSAT system, and more.

NOAA U.S. 401MHz Beacon Registration



All About Flares (video) - Members from Coast Guard Stations Ocean City, Crisfield and Curtis Bay talk about: flare characteristics, accurate reporting, methods of reporting and the differences between fireworks and flares. (Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Mieszala)


Float Plan

image of Official U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary float planWhy should you take the time to prepare a float plan?  The answer is simple... there are just too many facts that need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed to rescue authorities should you not check-in or return as planned.  Without a float plan you are counting on someone else to remember detailed information that rescue personnel need in order to find you.  Information that can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Visit Float Plan Central and create a float plan for your next outing.  It’s simple and easy to do.  And of course, it’s free from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.


Knots You Should Know

This 1973 US Navy training film provides excellent demonstrations of the Knots, Bends, and Hitches used in everyday boating.

1.    Knot Tying - Seamanship: Knots, Bends, and Hitches pt1-2; 1973 Dept. of Defense 14min (Overhand, Square, Bowline, Half Hitch, Timber Hitch, Rolling Hitch, Clove Hitch, Cat’s Paw, Mousing).

2.    Knot Tying - Seamanship: Knots, Bends, and Hitches pt2-2; 1973 Dept. of Defense 10min (Single Sheet or Becket Bend, Double Sheet or Becket Bend, Fisherman’s Bend, Double Carrick Bend, Summary of knots in Parts 1 & 2).

3.    To learn about other types of knots visit: Greg’s Boating Knots


Marine Safety Alerts

U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety Recalls and Safety Defects provides the recreational boating public with vital information on safety equipment concerns that have been identified by the Coast Guard.

In addition to identifying a potential equipment problem, they also provide recommendations that can be taken to prevent the identified equipment failure or if the equipment has been recalled due to the failures or concerns.



Federal Requirements

Owners and operators of recreational boats must make sure that their vessel carries the required safety equipment (carriage requirement) and is in compliance with federal and state regulations.  This 84-page booklet contains detailed information on the minimum federal safety equipment requirements.

A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats (PDF)

Navigation Rules

Cover photo of US Aids to Navigation System textThe U.S. Aids to Navigation Rules are much like the rules of the road on the highway.  They establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.  These rules will also help you recognize, understand, and navigate by the colors, shapes, numbers, and lights you will encounter on the water, as well as give you the basic tools you need to read a nautical chart.

Download a copy of the Aids to Navigation Rules (PDF)

Download a copy of the International & U.S. Inland Navigation Rules (PDF)


State Requirements

State of Nebraska (see also, the digital Boating Guide.)

Surrounding states:

State of Colorado

State of Iowa

State of Kansas

State of Missouri

State of South Dakota

State of Wyoming