Boating can be fun for the whole family; don’t let an accident ruin the fun. The key to a safe and fun time on Lake Champlain is to always practice boating safety. The United States Coast Guard says that almost all boating accidents could have been prevented, if the captain of the ship had taken a boating safety course prior to getting on the water. Boating safety should not be taken lightly.
There’s no way we can cover all aspects of boating safety in this short article. But we can give some basics to help you to become a responsible boater. Nothing can replace a good, certified boating safety course taught by a qualified individual, in fact it’s the law, but this can serve as a quick start guide.
- Always know the safe distance to keep away from other boats. If another boater is going slower than you are, and you want to pass them, know how to do so safely and with the proper signaling. Boats don’t have turn signals, but you should know how to alert the other boater you will be passing them.
- When putting your boat in the water, know how to do this quickly as well as safely. Boating safety must be practiced even before you get your vessel on the water. Knowing how to do this the properly can make the difference between friendly and unfriendly boating.
- If alcohol is part of your boating trip, be sure you are conscious of how it will affect your body when you are operating a fast-moving vehicle on top of a body of water. Alcohol use by the captain should be in moderation, if at all.. Most boating accidents can be directly attributed to alcohol as a contributing factor. Be smart when it comes to alcohol consumption on the water.
- Make sure that all people on board your boat have access to a personal flotation device (PFD)– it’s the law. Never let a child be in your boat without wearing a PFD The number one cause of death on the water is due to drowning- often caused by people falling overboard without a life vest. This is the number one boating safety rule stressed by all instructors.
- Boating safety depends on everyone following general rules of etiquette when you are out on the water. While you can’t control what the other boaters do, you can control your actions. Always be polite on the water and know that you are doing your part to keep the waters safe.
As we said previously, every boater should really take a certified boating safety course. Besides making it easier for you to get your boating license, you will be a much better boater after taking the boating safety course.
Below are listed websites to access Boating Safety courses for Canada, New York State and the State of Vermont. All are approved by the respective municipalities and offer free courses and on-line instruction:
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