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20 Ways to Avoid Boating Accidents

1. Pre-Underway Checklist ... The pre-underway checklist is guide for the Captain, First Mate, Cew Members, and Passengers alike. It allows time for all onboard to discuss the day's activities before leaving the dock. Everyone onboard should participate by discussing what can go wrong, and how how you will react if the unexpected occurs. Other activities associated with the Pre-Underway Checklist is to

Start and Idle the Engine(s), Honk the Horn, Turn the Helm in both directions, Test the Ship's Radio, Check the bilge for excessive water, and be certain the bilge pump is functioning ...


2. Inexperience ... When a passenger, crew member, or the Skipper has insufficient experience riding in or operating a boat it creates significant risks for everyone onboard. If you find yourself in such a circumstance don't leave the dock in that boat until you are confident that both the captain and the appropriate crew members are qualified to engage in the day's activities. If you are the owner of the boat make sure you crew is well rested and ready for the day's cruise or fishing expedition ...

3. Poor Maintenance ... All boats need maintenance, and lots of it. This is because a boat is an assembly of mechanical systems, and electrical systems, both of which will have hundreds of hours of operations and maintenance during their useful life. It is critical for the Skipper to keep an eye out for worn parts, corrosion, leaking gaskets, and leaking fuel ...


4. Improper Lookout ... As a Skipper it is your responsibility to be certain that your vessel is being constantly monitored, and your crew includes qualified lookouts ...


5. Mechanical Failures ... Mechanical failures in a boat are generally the direct result of poor maintenance. That is why an experienced Skipper will always take the time to inspect all systems before leaving the dock ...


6. Excessive Speed ... Boating and high speeds shouldn't go together. The dangers associated with boating at excessive speeds includes unexpected waves causing other boats to flip. In addition high speed on the water reduces the time that a boater has to react to changes or the presence of swimmers and others in the water ...


7. Alcohol Consumption ... Don't mix drinking with swimming and surfing when under the influence of alcohol. A swimmer can misjudge distance and struggle to get back to safety or not notice the water is too cold and become hypothermic. In addition, a surfer could become overly confident about what size wave they can handle ...


8. Rough Seas ... When the difficulty of rip tides is matched with the loss of visibility and the high winds of a squall, the rapidly building seas can cause panic ...


9. Violation of Navigation Rules ... Whoever operates a vessel in violation of the United States Navigation Rules is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 dollars for each violation ...


10. Hazardous Seas ... A Hazardous Seas Warning is issued by the National Weather service of the United States when wave height and/or wave Steepness values reach certain criteria. Tall waves pose a serious threat to vessels that do not seek shelter. ...


11. Inclement Weather, Thunderstorms and Lightning ... Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every Thunderstorm produces lightning,which

Kills more people each year than tornadoes ...


12. Crew Fatigue ... The result of fatigue is impaired performance, diminished alertness and increased risk ...


13. Rocks and Scholes ... Avoid shallows, stumps, shoals, rocks and other mostly underwater obstructions that can cause damage to your boat ...


14. Sea Sickness ... Seasickness is an unpleasant feeling caused by any motion that disturbs your inner ear. Here are a few tips to ease the symptoms ... 1. Maintain your fluid intakes, 2. keep moving, 3. stay on deck. 4. Carry a plastic bag. 5. Carry an over the counter medication to prevent or minimize motion sickness ...


15.Hunger and Dehydration ... Dehydration ... Drink 32 ounces of water before you get underway. Remember that coffee and tea are diuretics ... Hunger ... Pack a lunch and a bottle of water if you intend to be on the water for a long time.


16. Personal Flotation Devices ... You must have one U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD that fits each person on your vessel. These must be worn on all vessels including paddle crafts and skies ...


17. Lack of Mechanical Experience ... There are many schools that offer lessons for mechanics who want to work on boats of all kinds. Google it! for a school near you ...


18. A lack of Up to date Nautical Charts ... The biggest single advantage of electronic charts over paper systems to the professional navigator is the ease of correction. Both raster and vector systems allow for automatic electronic correction of the charts onboard, with no real work on the part of the navigator ...

19. Poor Maintenance ...Starters, water pumps, propeller shafts, and the like may cost hundreds of dollars. However, a boat is a collection mechanical systems and load bearing parts that require maintenance over time. A commercial boat may accumulate hundreds of hours of use and require tens of thousands of dollars for parts wear, metal degradation repairs, and preventative maintenance ...


20. Improper Clothing ... Must wear clothing includes Helly-Hansen jackets, A wind and waterproof jacket, warm socks, good boots, and good sneakers ...




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