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The list of general safety tips can cover a lot of ground for those new to boating and those who need reminding. Over time, you may get overconfident and relax the rules, but this can be dangerous. Many people head out on the water without knowing the basics. The following are 4 important tips.

  1. Learn and follow navigation rules. It’s your responsibility to know proper lookout procedures, safe speeds in different waterways and areas, who has the right of way when crossing or meeting another boat head-on, and what to do in overtaking situations. Find out more at BoatUS Foundation.
  2. Don’t over drink while boating. Alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of deaths in 2016. You are legally drunk at a blood alcohol level of .08 or better. Fines range from $1,000 to $5,000 and could include jail time. Find out more at the BoatUS Foundation online.
  3. Understand the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline-powered engines on boats and generators produce a colorless, odorless gas called carbon monoxide (CO) that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it. Install a CO detector and always stay at least 20 feet away from the nearest anchored, docked, or beached boat that is running an engine or generator.
  4. Check your communications. From radios to satellite phones, these are critical pieces of emergency equipment onboard your boat. Have more than one communication device that works when wet. These include:
  • satellite phone
  • VHF radios
  • personal locator beacons (PLB)
  • emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB)

Remember, cell phones are not reliable in emergency situations. Signals can vary, and they may not operate immediately or at all once they become wet. Be safe while you are boating whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro.

Sources:

US Dept of Homeland Security, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Boating Safety Tips, http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/nsbc-wear-it-fact-sheet-boating-safety-tips.pdf

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