Safe boating is something that we all believe that we do and think we know how to do, but the reality is probably somewhat less than is desired. Being a lifelong fisherman and boater, I recognize the fact that many of us take boating safety for granted way too often. Neglecting the simplest of marine safety basics cause way to many accidents and tragedies each year on our waterways. All to often we read about or hear about boating mishaps, boats capsizing or a myriad of boat stories that do not end well, all because of lack of pre-planning or the lack of general knowledge of boat safety.
One important tip would be to take a boating safety course. There are many courses available across the country for all types of recreational boaters, and for boaters of all ages. Taking one of these courses could mean the difference between a great day on the water with your friends and family, or a bad experience that you would not wish upon your worst enemy.
You can seek out qualified volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, and other sponsors that provide many safety courses that are open to the general public. Many state boating agencies also provide boat safety classes.
These courses will cover many aspects of boating safety, proper boat anchoring, safety equipment, boat handling skills, navigation, boating problems and emergencies, trailering, storing and protecting your boat, to reading the weather, and classes geared to courses for kids and younger boaters who want to learn boating and navigation skills. The most popular basic courses generally have from 6 to 13 lessons to provide a foundation of boat operational and safety instruction. Many boating classes will give you the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete boating safely course.
A safe boater will always have the appropriate nautical charts on board their vessel and will be familiar with their surroundings. The exact meaning of an aid to navigation may not be clear to the boater unless the appropriate marine chart is consulted. Also each boater should file a float plan with a friend or family member that outlines the days activities that are planned. This is helpful to provide the Coast Guard with a general area to search in case you are not back home in a reasonable timeframe.
It is also critical that your vessel have the necessary safety equipment onboard. The necessities include, but are not limited to, personal flotation devices (PFD’s) that properly fit each person onboard, visual distress signals, flares for both day-time and night-time use, bell, whistle, fire extinguisher, throw ring, cell phone, VHF radio.
It is also important to have an understanding of navigation, aids to navigation and the rules of the road. These simple, yet often overlooked basics lead to many unfortunate mishaps on the water. Aids to navigation are the road signs on the water and it is what controls how boats navigate and pass one another. Learning to understand them requires experience and practice.
Protect yourself and your family, be better prepared the next time you go boating.
London, UK, January 12, 2013
1. Mid top pan of luxury motor cruisers inside the London Boat Show
2. Wide top view of smaller speedboats
3. Mid shot of potential buyer checking the specification of speed boat
4. Mid shot of cruiser hulls
5. SOUNDBITE: (English), Howard Pridding, CEO, British Marine Federation
“The home market is tough, this has been a long recession, it’s gone much longer than we’d all anticipated, but the home market is still consistent, people are grinding out sales in the UK market and of course boat shows are a barometer.”
6. Wide half pan of the Sunseeker 115 sports yacht costing .5 million (USD)
7. Various of couple sitting in the lounge of the luxury yacht watching television pop up
8. Close of dinner service
9. Wide pan left of dinner table
10. Close of books on coffee table
11. Various of lounge on luxury yacht
12. Close of flower arrangement
13. Wide of dining table in front of mirror and flowers
14. Wide shot through wheelhouse window of Sunseeker managing director Stewart McIntyre walking up hull to wheelhouse
15. Close of navigation screen on control panel
16. SOUNDBITE: (English), Stewart McIntyre, managing director, Sunseeker
“We’ve seen significant growth in 2012 in Brazil and we’re seeing countries like Angola, Nigeria, other places begin to have their nationals buying boats. They may not be keeping them in their domestic country but they are buying boats and keeping them in the Mediterranean.”
17. Various close of monitor on control panel showing people arriving on the top deck
18. Close of compass
19. SOUNDBITE: (English), Stewart McIntyre, managing director, Sunseeker
“We see it very strongly, we’ve increased staff numbers, we’re increasing output, we’ve increased the speed at which we build some of these boats and the tack time of our lines and we’re seeing and showing growth for 2013 and 2014 and in fact the advance order we have for 2014 is as good as it’s ever been.”
20. Wide of one of the double bedrooms on luxury yacht
21. Pan of bedroom
22. Wide of designer bathroom on yacht
23. Close of designer taps
24. Mid shot through door of a twin bedroom
25. Close of stacked champagne glasses in boat show hall
26. Various of people at champagne bar
27. Mid of people on top deck of cruiser
28. Wide of second hand yachts in dock outside
29. Wide of second hand yacht
30. Wide pan off people walking in show to hull of speedboat
31. Mid of speedboat hulls
32. Various of boat show visitor trying out jet pack flyer on JetLev-Flyer stand
33. Various of jet pack expert outside demonstrating how to fly the JetLev-Flyer
34. SOUNDBITE: (English), Gary Miller, marketing and sales manager, JetLev-Flier UK
“It’s very much James Bond, but I think that’s the attraction because I think most kids today, in fact most men today want to be James Bond, so part of my brief is to get it into the next James bond film.”
35. Various of young men looking at jetskis on a stand
36. Various of freestyle jetski champion Jack Moule doing acrobatics on the river outside show
37. Wide pan of people watching launch of new boat inside the show (inside, shots 7 – 13, 20-24)
38. Various of four times Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie talking to sailing enthusiast with his young son
39. SOUNDBITE: (English), Sir Ben Ainslie, sailor, winner of four Olympic gold medals
“Through the Olympics last year certainly we saw a big increase in turnout of youngsters getting into the sport I think up to 50 percent in the immediate aftermath of the Olympics which is fantastic for the sport and of course now everyone talks about the legacy of 2012 and we need to keep that pushing forwards.”
40. Close of Super Ventura on luxury car stand
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One of the most valuable lessons learned is you can never be to prepared whether you are going on a fishing trip, boat tour, or a pleasure trip.
Something that should be on every boaters mind is safety and precautionary measures while out on the water. If your on a rowboat, speed boat, show boat, or a pontoon these tips should be useful.
1. Always check your local weather service before you go out on the water. If for some odd reason your weather provider’s prediction is wrong, look for darkening clouds, a temperature drop, or changing winds. Be safe and get off the water if a sudden weather change occurs.
2. Make a check list before going out. We all forget stuff when we are rushing ourselves. Make a check list before you head out, it will ensure you don’t forget anything important.
Some marine safety supplies that might be helpful are a flashlight (click here to see video of Safety Strobe Megaphone with flashlight), first aid kit, additional life jackets, visual distress signal, and an audio distress signal. All these supplies can be helpful in an emergency situation and can save your life.
To extend your voice even more look into a Portable PA System or a megaphone. These items would help you communicate to other boaters and safety professionals during emergencies or disaster situations.
3. Familiarize yourself with the boating regulations, the layout of the lake, and the layout of your vessel. Knowledge of all theses things is beneficial. It will provide extra safety on the water for you, and your passengers.
4. Put passengers to work. If you need help navigating or watching for other boats you could as your passengers to help you out.
5. Get onto land or back into the boat as soon as possible if you fall in freezing water. Being in cold water steals your body heat 32 times faster then cold air. Find the nearest spot to get out of the water and swim there immediately. Treading water trying to make a decision can shorten survival time by 50%.
6. Know how to swim. As crazy as it sounds, there have been incidences of people falling off their boat and not being able to swim. It would make sense to take a swimming class if your going to be around the water all day.
7. Get a free vessel safety check. These are offered by the United States Coast Guard for free. You can find a local vessel safety check using this website http://www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC/. They check safety equipment and the overall condition of your boat.
8. Watch out for the prop. A prop can spin 160 times per second so it’s best to not board your boat via the drive unit. Get a ladder and board the safe way.
9. Install a carbon monoxide device in your boats cabin. Carbon monoxide is odorless and deadly. So it’s not a bad idea to install one if your boat has an indoor cabin to prevent you from inhaling the fumes. Carbon monoxide exposure while rare can be fatal, do the smart thing and buy a carbon monoxide detector.
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