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                       BOAT SMART FROM THE START         


National Ensign

Helpful Hints for Boating Safety

Auxiliary Ensign

(Article by Gordy Aman, Flotilla 45, SO-PS D 9ER )

Boat Smart From The Start, Wear your life jacket.

As the operator of a boat, you are responsible for the boat and all people on board. Remember, safety is not a set of rules--it's an attitude, and common sense will make yourTop Of This Page trip and your passengers' boating experience more enjoyable.


1) GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: There are few places where good housekeeping habits are more important than on your boat. Keep decks and cabin area clean and free from clutter and debris, such as fishing poles, tackle boxes, and cleaning equipment (such as hoses, buckets, and brushes). See that a spill of any kind is wiped up as soon as possible. Serious injuries to yourself and passengers can be avoided when you develop a good habit of storing things in the same place. Also, this will save time if you need something in an emergency.

2) TOOLS AND SPARE PARTS: It's a good idea to carry a tool box and a few spare parts, such as water pump belt, spark plugs, distributor cap, fuel filter, fuses and spare bulbs, just to name a few. Learn how to make minor repairs if you can, and if you would rather not, at least you may have the parts on board if someone else offers a hand.

3) MAINTENANCE: Keep a record of scheduled maintenance items, such as oil and filter changes, fuel filter replacement, and battery replacement. Before you leave the dock, check oil level, battery for water, navigation lights, and periodically add dry gas (water remover) to your fuel tanks.

4) FUEL SUPPLY: Always start your trip with a FULL tank of fuel; service stations are not to be found on the water. When you plan a boating trip, here's a good rule to remember. It'sTop Of This Page called the rule of thirds, and it works!

a) One third of a tank to get you there
b) One third of a tank to get you home, and
c) One third of a tank just in case.

5) DRUGS AND ALCOHOL: Never mix drugs and/or alcohol with boating; they affect your ability to react and cause poor judgment. More so, when you factor in the hot sun, wind, and noises aboard your boat, they cause more fatigue than you realize; and this is the catalyst for a serious boating accident.


a) Have a first aid kit on board

b) Have a flashlight and spare batteries

c) Listen to weather forecast

d) Float plan--tell someone at home or a friend when and where you are going, with whom, when you expect to be back, and who to call if they don't hear from you in a reasonable time. Remember to tell them when you arrive back so they can cancel theTop Of This Page watch!

Plan for summer, download your Float Plannow.


Don't forget to check out BOAT SMART KIDS and Smart Start For Paddlers

For more information about the above or any other Operation Boat Smart activity, please contact  Bob Daraio

We Need You -- The Coast Guard Auxiliary is called upon to provide essential services to the Coast Guard as they focus more heavily on their military missions.  We need all the help we can get.  You needn't own a boat or be an experienced boater, since our missions are wide-ranging.  For information about Auxiliary missions and the Auxiliary in general, go to our Join the Auxiliary web page.  You will find there a form through which you can ask that a local Auxiliarist make contact with you to explore the ways in which you can assist Team Coast Guard. To learn more go to Charting Your Course in the USCG Auxiliary.Top Of This Page

Click here for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary home page Revised: 12/18/07