Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! This weekend is one of the most popular throughout the year for having fun on the boat, getting out on the lake or river, and relaxing. If you plan on getting on the water this Memorial Day, please be cautious and keep safety your top priority.
Boaters face a variety of safety concerns. In addition to watching out for other boaters, docks and shallow water, boaters need to be on the lookout for submerged items that hover close to the surface due to lower water levels.
Whether you own a fishing vessel, runabout, personal watercraft or a pontoon boat, boaters should look at their boat insurance policies to assure proper coverage for property damage and liability. Items on boats that should be covered include GOPS tracking systems, fish finders, fishing equipment, life jackets and other personal property left on the vessel.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council recommend that boaters:
- Take a boating education course
- Wear life jackets as a rule. Most laws require having U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on board your vessel for all passengers
- Do not mix drinking and boating
- Know the weather and water conditions
- File a float plan. Give the information to a friend or relative who can call for help if you do not return as scheduled
- Observe the nautical rules of the road, including speed limits
- Get a courtesy vessel safety check
- Report emergencies via Ch. 16 on a marine VHF-FM radio
- Not discharge oil, trash or sewage into the water
- Properly insure the boat and make sure it has sufficient coverage
Keep these in mind while on the water this Memorial Day weekend, and all summer long! For more tips, visit http://www.uscgboating.org/.