Boating season is almost here in New England. Soon enough , many of us will be on the North River or Atlantic Ocean and enjoying all they have to offer. With this in mind, it is important to review some recreational safety rules. We have suggestions below (some obvious and some not so much) which should make for a safe and terrific boating season.
Before heading out on your maiden voyage, make sure your boat is ready for the water. It is important to inspect the body of the vessel for any cracks you may have missed. In addition, check the battery, pump and engine to make sure they are working properly for the season ahead.
Always pack or wear life vests - the water may be calm, but always expect the unexpected.
Know the area you are navigating – rocks, shallow areas, changing currents, tide changes, etc mean things may have shifted since last fall.
Check your emergency equipment BEFORE you put your boat in gear or hoist the sail – check your supply of life vests, emergency lighting & flares, radio equipment, cell phone, life ring, gas supply & any navigational instruments and equipment.
Obey the rules of the water – keep to the right, keep your distance from other boaters and swimmers and always a calm wake when close to other boats. Sailboats have the right of way.
Drinking & driving don’t mix, neither does drinking & boating.
Become proficient with boat maneuvers such as docking if you aren't already. Interesting fact: most boat-to-boat collisions happen at marina fuel docks.*
Familiarize passengers on emergency procedures
Take boating courses appropriate for your size & type vessel if you don't already have at least a decade of experience. Even veteran boaters benefit from updated safety course.
Check the weather forecast before you head out so you can be prepared for a sudden change in weather.