Next week marks the beginning of fall. Remember to review fall boating safety guidelines. As we head into the fall boating season, closer attention to cold weather boating safety guidelines is a must. With the cooler weather comes colder waters!
When the weather changes so should the type of lifejackets boaters use such as a flotation coat or deck suit-style designed to keep the boater afloat and insulated without using energy. If a person were to fall overboard in cold water, hypothermia sets in and their chances of survival decrease drastically…and quickly! Bringing extra layers of clothing and weather appropriate outerwear is crucial. Depending where you live temperatures can average in the 50’s throughout October and November. Make sure when you head out on your Fall boating adventure you are prepared for sudden drops in temperature or approaching storms.
A safety check of your vessel ensures that it is outfitted with the proper safety gear and is in good operating condition before getting underway.
The following is a list of safety tips all boaters should adhere to before leaving the dock:
- Carry a VHF-FM marine radio. Cell phones often lose signal and run out of batteries after a day on the water. They are helpful, but not reliable for emergencies.
- Register your EPIRB. Response time is the key to survival. The sooner help arrives, the better the chances for survival. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS) provide the fastest and most accurate way the Coast Guard has of locating and rescuing persons in distress.
- Have a Vessel Safety Check. It’s a great way of learning about problems that might put boaters in violation of state or federal laws, or create danger for boaters and passengers on the water. Best of all, it’s free! Both the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check (“VSC”) at your boat, at a time of mutual convenience. There is no charge, and no consequences if you don’t pass. Our goal is simply to help make boating as safe as possible for you, your family and your friends, through education. Click Here for more VSC information.
Before getting underway let friends and family know where and their expected return time. These planned actions ahead of starting the motor, hoisting the sail, or paddling the vessel are critical to ensuring a safe boating excursion or rescue if the need arises. Use the new United States Coast Guard App to create a float plan… Other features of the app include: state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity. When location services are enabled, users can receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys as well as report the location of a hazard on the water
For more information about boating safety tips and a complete list of requirements click here to download – A Boater’s Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats and Safety Tips.