New Year, Boating Safety

Is your New Years Resolution to spend more time on your boat? If so, browse this article to make sure you're ready!

Have you read your boater's manual to make sure you are aware of the ins and outs of safe operation, such as proper maintenance and how to operate your electronics? Knowing your boat's limitations and how to handle your vessel in heavy seas or if bad weather should arise is also crucial in the world of boating. Be sure to never exceed your boat's limitations. Make sure it's in top condition, check weather forecasts before departing, and always make sure you have more than enough fuel.

Safe boating is knowing your boat and the area you plan to discover. Try using landmarks to become familiar with the area, and go on outings often. The more time you spend behind the wheel of your boat, the better captain you will become. You should know how to use a compass. Even though more boating accidents take place during the warmer months, more fatalities occur during the colder months because the survival rate is very low with cold air and water temperatures. Invest in a GPS and/or navigation chart and store them on your boat. Pinpoint locations on your chart or map to learn safe routes and shallow areas.

Be sure to always have proper winter gear such as a flotation coat or dry suit, before setting sail. Other important items to have on hand include a whistle, flares, and a personal emergency locator light. Dress in thermal layers. Most boats are mandated to have navigation lights, emergency flares, life jackets, and a sound signaling device, depending on the size of the vessel.

Have you taken a boating safety course to operate your vessel? Many states are requiring boaters to take and pass a safety course before operating a vessel. Do you know if your state requires you to take a course? Check out the requirements for your area on: //www.boatus.org/onlinecourse/default.asp