It takes more than sturdy Life Jackets
to be ready for safe boating.
At a minimum, your
vessel should be equipped
with the following items:
Devices (PFD's or Life Jackets) - Vessels are
required, regardless of size, to have one PFD for each passenger
on-board. PFD's need to be in good and serviceable condition, and must
be the correct size for the passenger.
If your vessel is 16 feet or larger, you must
also carry at least one Type 4 "Throwable device." These
commonly are USCG approved flotation cushions or life-rings.
Law Enforcement Officers cannot stress how
important it is that life jackets be readily accessible, and that each
person is familiar with how to wear one. The safest way to prevent
accidental drowning is to wear your life jacket at all times while on
Sound Producing Device
- Vessels must be equipped with at least one efficient sound
producing device. Vessels over 39.4' must also be equipped with a bell
at least 7.8 inches in diameter. Sound producing devices commonly
consist of whistles, and horns (both electric and compressed air).
Visual Distress Signals -
Vessels are required to carry visual distress signals consisting
of three daytime, and three nighttime USCG approved distress signals.
Vessels less than 16 feet are exempt from carrying daytime signals,
but if equipped for operation at night, must carry the nighttime
Flares and rockets are often approved for both
day and night use, and usually come in packs of three, meeting the day
and night requirements. Distress signals expire! Be sure and check the
expiration date on the signal yearly.
Fire Extinguishers -
All vessels with fixed or enclosed fuel tanks, closed living
spaces, and closed areas where combustible materials are stored, are
required to carry USCG approved fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers
also expire and lose pressure, check them each boating season.
For vessels up to 25 feet in length, one type
B-1 extinguisher is required.
Fixed engine compartment fire extinguishing systems count as one
type B-1 extinguisher.
For vessels 26-40 feet in length, two type
B-1 or one type B-2 is required.
For vessels 40-65 feet in length, three type
B-1, or one B-2 and one B-1 extinguisher is required.
Back-Fire Flame Arrestor
- Gasoline engines may backfire and cause the
explosion of fuel vapors. All motorboats, except outboards and
diesels, must have USCG approved back-fire flame arrestor systems on
each carburetor. Arrestors must be clean and free of built up oil and
- All enclosed compartments containing engines and/or fuel
tanks require ventilation to prevent the build up of explosive
vapors/gasses. Ventilation systems consist of both motorized and
forced air systems. Be sure your exhaust lines extend to the lowest
parts of the bilges, and that intake lines extend below the
carburetor. Adequate ventilation, along with the proper ignition
protected, marine application parts, can help prevent a dangerous or
Again, these are minimum requirements. We are
proud of boat operators that exceed the above safety requirements and
they should be examples to others.
Secondly, some operating
Ever wonder about wakes?
Wakes are what your boat produces when it moves
through the water. Wakes can damage other boats, and in some cases,
cause personal injury or death. Boat operators are responsible for any
and all damage caused by their wake.
What about water-skier
flags? State law provides for the display of a
water-skier flag, defined as a 12" by 12" international
orange or red flag on a 24" pole, to be displayed anytime a
water-skier is in the water (not up skiing).
Breaking the myth ... For
years there has been what some call a "relationship" between
recreational boating and the consumption of alcohol. Some boaters will
tell you that "There's nothing like a cold beer while cruising on
the boat." Well, that "relationship" is costing lives
every year and there is a growing "zero tolerance" policy by
marine enforcement officers for boating under the influence. What some
may not realize is that boating generally compounds the effects of
alcohol unlike what a person on land might feel. We call these
compounding elements "Stressors."
The major daytime stressors that can compound
effects of alcohol are: fatigue, noise, shock, heat, sun glare, time
pressure, and vibration. All of these stressors can be present at
night, with the exception of sun glare. At night, additional stressors
such as, dark adaptation, moon glare, and background lighting are
present. Stressors have the potential of increasing the intoxicating
effects of alcohol as much as 30%.
You can see how "just a couple of
beers" can lead to trouble, not to mention arrest. Please do your
part in breaking the myth.