Every boater must operate safely, and this safety must start before the actual voyage. Safe preparation for a voyage will enable you to have a good trip. It can also help you avoid the risk of a costly boat insurance claim. Take a look at a few safety precautions that all Kentucky boaters should take.
Things to Remember When Preparing to Boat
When you are preparing for a voyage, you are often around other people. You will also have to prepare and maneuver your vessel quite a bit. You might face several safety hazards that you must try to minimize.
- Check that you have the appropriate safety gear on the vessel. Necessary items might be life jackets, life preservers, emergency rafts, flares, First Aid kits, fire extinguishers and radios.
- Inspect the hull of the boat for any signs of damage. Bail out any excess water from the vessel. Clean the boat and remove any signs of barnacles or oxidation.
- Stow the appropriate registration, proof of insurance and other documentation on the boat.
- Let someone know where you plan to sail and tell them when you plan to be back.
- Fuel the boat, but do not leave the boat alone while doing so. Pump the fuel carefully and do not overfill the tank.
- When unloading the boat from a trailer, use ramps appropriately. Follow the unloading procedures within your manual. Do not let anyone get on the vessel unless they are helping you with the unloading.
- Moor the boat securely, keeping distance between yourself and other boats. If any of your mooring lines have damage, then replace them. Do not use frayed rope.
- Test your engine and make sure it does not show any signs of distress or malfunctions. Let the engine warm up before casting off. Also test your lights, radio and other emergency systems one final time.
- Stow away personal belongings or secure them to the deck.
- No one should ride on your vessel without wearing a lifejacket. Both adults and children should have vests that fit them. They should always keep these on, especially when the vessel is in motion.
- While casting off, tell you passengers to keep their hands, feet and bodies within the vessel. Everyone should stay seated for as long as you are moving. People should move around while the vessel is at anchor or drifting.
While maneuvering away from a dock and into open water, always keep your surroundings in mind. You must try to avoid other vessels, structures, or underwater objects. Take it slow and do not accelerate until you are in open water.
For more information on best practices for boating safety, refer to the Kentucky Boating Safety Manual provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
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