Monthly Archives: June 2016

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  1. Accidents Will Happen

    Accidents Will Happen

    With several high-profile boating tragedies in the news lately, we wonder: when something goes wrong, will you be ready? Thorough preparedness for marine disasters is beyond the scope of a blog post, so the Skipper suggests taking a boater safety course. The Boat US Foundation has free boating safety courses for each state, and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary has a list of safe boating classes, both fee-based and free. Here are five points for preparedness. File a float plan. Make sure someone knows when you're leaving, where you're going, and when you intend to return. This form from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary can be filled out online and printed, or printed as is and filled out by hand. Leave a copy with a trustworthy person on shore. A float plan helps searchers know where to start looking for you if something goes badly wrong. Show 'em the ropes. Before casting off, show your passengers where the fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, and emergency signals are. Have a quick lesson in operating the bilge pump, the anchor, and the radio and other communication equipment. Wear it! We cannot overstate it: wearing a life jacket can make the difference between life and death. Merely carrying personal flotation devices aboard your boat is not enough. The law requires children to wear life vests while boating, and the North American Safe Boating Campaign recommends that all

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  2. 8 Tips for Boating After Dark

    8 Tips for Boating After Dark

      Summer means long days, late sunsets, and soft, starlit nights. It's easy to enjoy night cruising and fishing safely when you take a little care. Check out the Skipper's tips for safe night boating. Be prepared. Make sure your boat's safety equipment is in good working order. Change old batteries, get a fresh can for your air horn, stock up on flares and glow sticks, and be sure you've got at least one emergency flashlight on board. Giving glowing necklaces and bracelets to your passengers not only makes for a fun atmosphere, but will make them visible in case they go overboard in the dark. Know your surroundings. Even familiar waters can seem strange when night falls, so don't make your first trip in new waters at night. Slow down. Yes, opening up and kicking up a wake is fun, but save it for daytime. And don't tow tubers or skiers after dark, either; it's just too dangerous. Dial it down. Your eyes adjust to the amount of light available, and they can't adapt to the darkness if you're trying to see over the bow from within a brightly-lit cockpit. Turn down the interior lights, and use a compass instead of your chartplotter; even its dim screen can interfere with your eyes' adaptation to the dark. Also, turn down the stereo. Cranking the tunes means you can't hear other boats' horns, so turn down the volume for safety's sake. Learn the lights. Each and every boat is required by law to have correct lighting after dark. Make sure your own

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