#1. If my boat doesn’t contain any fire hazards from the motor or fuel system, then according to Federal requirements, I don’t need to bring a fire extinguisher along
This is true. A fire extinguisher is only required on boats where elements such as a motor or fuel system create a distinct fire hazard. However, general safe boating guidelines will always suggest that you stow a fire extinguisher on the boat just in case.
#2. Children younger than 13 years old should wear a Lifejacket while underway.
True. This is now a legal requirement for all federal waterways and many states have also passed legislation to make this a requirement for non-federal waterways. Showing your kids the ropes for safe boating involves ensuring they’re adequately protected in the event of any emergency.
#3. If someone falls overboard, the first thing you should do is jump in right away to assist them.
False. Jumping overboard to rescue someone should only be used as a last resort. Safe boating requires that the first thing you do is to reach for the person, using either your arm or something nearby that they can grab onto. If you’re more than an arm’s length away, the next option is to throw them an inflatable, floatable device. If you aren’t close enough to reach or throw something, the next step is to row closer until you are. Only go in after someone as a last resort, and only if you are a strong swimmer with experience in lifesaving. Otherwise, you could end up having two men overboard instead of just one.
#4. A dock or slip should be always approached at clutch speed.
True. A safe boater always operates at a reasonable speed at all times, especially in crowded waterways or near docks and slips. Safe boating requires you to always be in control of your watercraft, taking the time to perform all maneuvers with adequate precision.
#5. 25% of all boating accidents involve a personal watercraft that was borrowed.
False – the number is actually much higher, at over 50%. Before loaning your boat to anyone, make sure they are familiar with the all operational rules for safe handling of your boat in particular. You may even find it helpful to create a safe boating guide full of tips and instructions to keep onboard your watercraft.
#6. Boats that are 16 feet and over must also carry one USCG-approved throwable Lifejacket (Type IV)
True. Additionally, federal safe boating requirements maintain that all watercraft must contain at least one USCG (United States Coast Guard) approved, wearable Lifejacket (Types I-III)for every person onboard, but it’s good to have a few extras on hand as well.
#7. If a boat is overturned or swamped, abandon the boat and use your Lifejacket for flotation.
False. If a boat is overturned or swamped, but not sinking, you can still use it to support your body and save energy. Removing as much of your body from the water as possible can also help prevent hypothermia.
#8. I have family visiting and we will be going over recommended capacity by just one person. This shouldn’t be a problem for safe boating, right?
False. It can be a fatal mistake to overload your boat. To ensure boater safety for everyone on board, be sure to check your boat’s capacity plate to see what the maximum number of people or carrying weight in pounds is.
#9. It’s okay if others drink when onboard, as long as there is one responsible safe boater onboard to safely handle the watercraft.
False. Over half of all boating-related drowning incidents involve the use of alcohol, and many times the injured person is not the skipper or designated safe boater. Practice safe boating at all times by restricting use of alcohol to everyone on board- not just a few people.
#10. The S.A.F.E. Boating principles stand for: Sober Boating, Alertness, Fasten Lifejackets, and Education.
True. A handy safe boating guide to keep in mind at all times, the four S.A.F.E Boating principles above help to ensure boater safety on a variety of levels. Always be sober, always be alert, always use lifejackets when required, and last but not least, be sure to take the time to invest in an educational boater safety course.