Archive for the ‘Boat Safety’ Category

Be Safe On Your Boat This Fourth of July

We know that when you peruse online boat listings to buy a boat online, you do this because you enjoy being on the water. While we certainly want you to have a good time and enjoy your boat but we also want you to be safe.

The Fourth of July is a lot of fun and it is a great time to be out on a boat. In some cities you can get the best view of fireworks on a boat and not have to worry about finding a place to park or waiting for public transportation.

However, as with most holidays, there are also some dangers. This is not to scare anyone, but to simply say that it helps to be aware. The Fourth of July is a time when many people do not have to work, many people are looking to have some fun and many people want to drink alcohol.

When it comes to boating at night with the aim to see the fireworks, The York Dispatch has this advice:

“Lots of us will head onto the water to view the fireworks this weekend. But boating at night is dangerous.

If you’re not familiar with the water you’ll be on, the advice is clear. Don’t go. If you think you have the skills needed, slow and easy wins the race. Speed has no place in nighttime boating.”


Remain Alert for Safe Boating

After you buy a boat online or after you get the boat you have ready for the warm

weather you will probably feel pretty eager to get out there on the water. Before you head out into the warm weather boating season and before you head out on each adventure, remember to take the time prepare yourself mentally.

Do not be so anxious that you do not have fun, just be ready to be alert while you are on the water. As The Grant Tribune told its readers:

“The best boat operators constantly are looking around for other boats, swimmers, stumps and other hazards. This is especially true for operators of personal watercraft or other high-speed vessels.”

When you head out on the water fully aware of the rules and regulations for the jurisdiction and prepared to be alert, you can have a good time. The need for alertness is one of the reasons authorities caution boaters repeatedly about drinking and operating a moving vehicle on the water.

In the daytime there is the glare of the sun and all kinds of other distractions that may reduce visibility. Often, boaters overestimate how much room they have to maneuver with other vessels in the water. And when it gets dark, it is simply more difficult to see.

We want you to stay safe and enjoy spending time on your boat, so please remain alert.

Take an Online Boating Safety Quiz

We not only encourage you to buy or sell your boat online; we also want to encourage you to use safe boating practices in the water. You can engage in an online transaction to buy or sell a boat and you can also get some help online with learning about water safety, however it is up to you to put safe boating practices to work when you are in the water.

The National Safe Boating Council is co-sponsor of a boating safety quiz online. This quiz was designed to help you test how much you know about boating safety and to get you thinking about safe boating practices. Once you take the quiz yourself, send it to your family and friends who are boat owners so they too can see just how much they know.

Even the best boaters can use a refresher to remind them of best practices when spending time on a boat. And novices need to have safe boating practices reinforced often so that they remember to apply these principles when they are out on the water. For example, when you first start to get into boating, it can be difficult to remember all the parts of a boat. You need to know these practices for general knowledge but also just in case a more experienced boater refers to one of them and you need to locate that part of the boat quickly.


Kick Off a Safe Summer Boating Season

Although some boat owners were getting boats ready in the spring, Memorial Day weekend is considered the official kickoff for the a summer season of boating fun.

Make sure that you know the rules and regulations for boating safety in your area. Sometimes the rules can be very specific. For example, in one Alabama jurisdiction,

“…anyone born before April 28, 1954 is exempt from the requirement of having a certification to drive a boat.

Even if someone has a certificate for passing the boater’s license test, he or she must take that certificate to renew a driver’s license and have it designated on the license.

A boating license can be obtained when someone is 12 years old, but boaters cannot drive by themselves at that age…Someone at least 21 years old has to be with them.”

Overall, boaters anywhere should have enough life jackets on hand for everyone on their boat. It is important to observe speed limits (and it helps if you are aware of them ahead of time). It is also very important not to drive a boat while intoxicated. And while others on the boat who are not driving may feel free to drink in excess, it is not a good idea to have a number of intoxicated people on a moving vessel in the water.


Boat Owners Need a VHF Radio or Cell Phone On Board

Last week, we mentioned a story about how two young women who went out on a short boating trip last spring in Maine were found in the water without vital signs. A Coast Guard official stressed just how crucial it is to wear life jackets, even if you know that you can swim.

The women were in a kayak, a boat that does not allow one to carry a lot of the same kind of safety equipment that larger boats can accommodate. However, even a kayak has room for a cell phone or a VHF radio. If you are out in a boat, you need a way to call for help. Find out the channel you need to use if you are in distress beforehand because you will not have time to figure this out if you find that you are in need of help out on the water.

So when you are looking into the costs to buy a boat, add a little extra to the budget for safety equipment. There are just some things you do not want to go without and safety y is at the top of the list. Boat bling is nice, but first make certain that you have the basics for survival.


Life Jackets are a Must for Boaters

The memory of helping boaters after an early spring boating trip went awry last year, pushed on Coast Guard Commander in Maine to issue safety warnings earlier this year. Rather than wait until the warm spring weather takes over and people start to go out in their vessels, he spoke to a local paper now, trying to impress upon boaters the importance of safety precautions.

Sadly the boating enthusiasts in question were found in the water and they lacked vital signs. They were wearing their regular clothes and had embarked on a two-mile round trip. They probably felt like they didn’t need life jackets for a short journey

The Coast Guard official stressed that everyone should wear life jackets in the water, and this includes people who consider themselves to be good swimmers.

An average person can last about six hours in 60-degree water, and after that about 10 hours more in the water in what Downey called “survival” mode.

Drowning, he said, is often facilitated by the body’s hypothermic reaction, which impacts the ability to swim.

“We’re emphasizing that in cold water, you want to wear a life jacket because it keeps you buoyant,” the 20-year Coast Guard officer explained.


Boating Tips for Cold Weather, pt. 2

Earlier in the week, we gave you some boating tips for cold weather. Here are even more ways you can keep yourself and your guests safe when you venture out before the warm weather hits. You really do have to prepare for the worst. You may not find yourself in a water emergency, but if you do, you will not want to be caught unaware.

Kill Switch: Whether you are going out in your boat alone or with others, the boat’s driver should have the kill switch attached to his or her person. Falling in the water is bad enough; you don’t want to also have your boat traveling on without you.

Bag It: Keep your cell phone in a sealed plastic baggie. Should you find that you fall into the water, having your cell phone protected will allow you to call for help. While you should have other safety equipment, like a VHF radio, on hand, it is not a bad idea to make sure your cell phone will be functioning in case you need to use it. As for the idea that the baggie getting in the way of using it during a calm boating trip: Hopefully, you will be enjoying  your boat trip and not need to use it a lot.

Boating Tips for Cold Weather, pt. 1

If you buy a boat, you will want to enjoy using it as much as possible and for some of you that includes taking your boat out in cold weather.

What to Wear: Of course you don’t want to end up in the water, but you need to dress as if this might happen. People tend to dress based on the temperature of the air, forgetting that the water may be much colder.

You don’t want to wear cotton because it takes in water and can help your body temperature to drop faster than other fabrics. Look for clothes made of water-resistant fabrics and an outer garment that is waterproof.

Fix it First: You may get excited about heading out in your boat in the spring, but you want to make sure it is in good shape first. You can take your boat out on a short run before you take the first late winter/early spring trip to get ready.

Life Jackets Are a Must: Even the best swimmers can find that their ability to keep their heads above water is challenged when the water is very cold. No matter what your level of swimming skill, you really do need a life jacket. Life jackets play a key role in surviving in cold water.

The Maryland Basic Boating Safety Certificate

Before you buy a boat, you need to check out the rules and regulations that your city and state have put in place for boat owners.

For example, boat operators in Maryland have to meet the stipulations of the Maryland Boating Safety Education Act. The Maryland Boating SafetyEducation Actsays that people who were born after July 1, 1972 need to have a Maryland Basic Boating Safety Certificate before they can operate a boat in Maryland. Boaters under 16 also may need the certificate, depending on the type of boat they want to operate. So a boater in Maryland needs to make sure that he or she takes the course before taking possession of an operating a boat.

Obtaining this certificate requires attendance at a course that lasts three nights.On the last night of the course, you have to pass a written exam in order to geta certificate. The course can last up to 3 hours, but it only costs $15 and that priceincludes all course materials.
Courses like this require a time commitment and they are not offered every week.

There are also online options available,  at a slightly higher cost than that the in-person class, so if you do not want to commit to taking a course over three nights, you can also take an online course to get your certification.

More on Boating Safety for Dogs

We have already discussed how you will want to plan ahead to keep your dog safe when you set sail. Here are some other tips for boat owners who want to enjoy a day on the water with a dog-

Don’t Drink the Water
This rule goes for people as well as dogs, however, the dogs can access the water you are floating in more quickly. The term “freshwater” can be misleading, since the water in lakes can be contaminated, be it from industrial pollution or by creatures that live in the water Make sure you have enough water for your dog to drink on board. When you are out in the sun, a dog can get dehydrated quickly, so provide your dog with water and do not allow a dog to drink from a lake or ocean.

Contain the Waste
Make your trip more pleasant by being prepared to clean up waste from your dog and take an ample amount of bags and paper towels with you. Don’t forget to bring something to control odors as well. It is important that you do not let your dog’s waste sit out in the air. Clean up waste quickly to avoid problems with odor and pests who will be attracted to it.