Boating Safety Is For Life

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boating Safety And Accident news

 1.  Learn The language of boats:  Basic Terms, such as fore and aft, port and starboard, bow, stern, bilge,  chines,  helm, etc ,  are fundamental  to boating.  Get a nautical dictionary or a book such as Chapmans’ Piloting Seamanship, and Small Boat Handling.  These contain all the terms you will need to know, and more. 

    2.     Learn about your boat.  If it is a power boat:  where is the fuel  fill and the fuel tank?  How much does it hold?  How does your boat handle at slow speeds?  What are the basic dimensions of your boat, length, beam, depth (draft).  How much water depth do you need under you to keep from hitting bottom?   How do you start the engine?  Know your boat inside and out and how it handles under all conditions.

     If you have a sailboat, what are the names of each line used to handle the sails?  What is the difference  between a rope, a line, a sheet, and a halyard.  What are the different parts of the sails?  Why is a centerboard different than a dagger board or a keel?  What does close hauled, a broad reach, running free mean?  When two sailboats, under sail meet, who has the right of way?

   3.   Learn basic boat handling.  Are there specific handling requirements for your boat?  For instance PWCs cannot be steered at slow speed.  They have to have some movement to steer.  Single screw (propeller) boats are not as maneuverable as twin screw boats.  Outboards and sterndrive boats are more maneuverable than conventional inboard boats.  Practice handling your boat in close quarters at slow speeds. Practice docking.

   4. Learn basic rules and regulations for boats.   Is your boat required to be registered? If yes,   with who?  How do you get your boat registered?  Where are the registration numbers required to be? How big? What color? Do you need a license to operate a boat?  What types of lights does your boat need?  Do you know what a Hull identification Number is?

   5.  Learn the basic rules of the road.  Who has the right of way?   Are there speed limits?  When do sailboats have the right of way over motorboats?   What do all those buoys and signs mean?   How about operating at night?  Do you need a lookout?

   6.   Boating Equipment.  What equipment do you need on your boat?   What is required by law?  What is good to have but not required?  What is a PFD?  Where should they be stored?  Who must wear a PFD, and when?

   7. Who is in charge?  As the boat operator, are you the Captain?  As Captain what are your basic legal responsibilities.  Are you responsible for what other people do on your boat?  What happens if you let someone else operate the boat?

   8.  If you are going to go boating on any body of water larger than a lake that you can see from one end to other, you need to know some basic navigation.  What is coastal navigation?  What are charts and how are they used?  Why do you not use a road map for boat navigation?  What is GPS?  What is a depth sounder?  How can a depth sounder be used for navigation.

   9.  Learn how to anchor.  Learn the different types of anchors, where they are used and how much line (rope) do you need.  Should you use rope or chain?

  10.  Learn about weather.  Where can you get marine weather info?   Why is the weather important?   What should you do if caught out in a storm or if there is lightning?  Learn to recognize basic weather patterns and when the weather is changing, especially if it is changing for the worse.

  11.  Navigation:  Learn how to navigate from one place to another.  Learn the basics of coastal navigation and dead reckoning.  How do you determine you position, course and speed?  Do you know what GPS means, and how it works?  Learn about where to get charts and how to use them.  Learn to use electronic charts.

  12.  Emergencies: Learn how to handle emergencies. What do you do if someone falls overboard?  What action do you take if there is a fire?  How do you handle flooding of your boat?  Learn about towing. Towing can be dangerous. Learn to do it safely.

    All of the above is just the beginning.  There is much more to learn as you gain experience with your boat.  Classes are offered by many organizations. Following are just a few.
US Coast Guard Auxiliary
US Power Squadron
State and Local Law Enforcement
US Army Corps Of Engineers
National park Service
Red Cross
BoatUS

BoatUS has a database of classes in your area as well as their own free online course.  See  http://www.boatus.com/courseline/default.asp

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