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Boating Safety

  • Wear life jackets at all times when near the water.
  • Use safe anchorages.
  • Don’t operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Watch out for commercial ships, tugboats, and towboats.
  • Designate someone to look out for other boats, commercial and recreational.
  • Don’t jet ski or water ski around commercial boats and ships or tugboats and towboats.
  • Understand whistle signals.
  • Have a qualified technician do a thorough checkup of your boat once a year.
  • Check all exhaust features on your boat once a month to prevent carbon monoxide hazards.
  • Every time you go out on your boat, be sure to know where exhaust pipes are, and educate passengers on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as its symptoms – which are often similar to the symptoms of seasickness or alcohol intoxication.
  • Be familiar with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Information can be found at http://uscgboating.org/safety/GMDSS_brochure.pdf
  • Check weather forecasts before getting on the water.
  • Don’t boat alone.
  • Always tell someone when and where you are going.
  • Bring emergency supplies such as maps, flares, and a first aid kit.
  • If you loan someone your boat, show them how to operate it.

Sources: BoatUS Foundation, American Waterways Operators Foundation, United States Coast Guard Boating Safety website, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Links:

U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety
(http://uscgboating.org/safety/safety.htm): This website offers links to safety tips as well as publications and brochures to print. This site even allows you to take courses in boating safety.

National Safe Boating Council
(http://www.safeboatingcouncil.org): Training opportunities, Safe Boating courses, Life jacket testimonials, and more can be found on this website. You can even sign up to become a member of the council.