The Nautical Blog

Boat Safety Class

I just started taking a boat safety class tonight, and it’s being held at the Coast Guard office in Boston. There’s about a dozen men and women in the course with a good mixture of powerboaters and sailboaters. Some of us (like me) don’t have our own boat, but it’s good to know this stuff anyways.

For the first night we got an overview of what to expect and lots of stories. This is how the teacher prefers to teach rather than read right out of the manual.  For the book we’re using the Thirteenth Edition of Boating Skills and Seamanship by United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Some safety tips given tonight:

– Don’t swim if you fall in the water, no matter how good a swimmer you are. If you see something floating (like the boat) stick with it. You’ll be saved a lot faster and you won’t be as tired.

– If traveling a lot you’ll need a chart kit and marine guide book.

– When using a compass, put it down away from your radio

– When going out with the boat, make sure you file a float plan and/or let someone know you’re going out. Then call them when you get back.

– While on the boat with others, make sure your guests know where your compass, flashlights, life jackets, etc are and how to use the bathroom (if you have on board).

– Fishing boats need to get out of everybody’s way except a seaplane.

– Always know where you’re at.

– Don’t allow children to sit on the bow. Too many have gone overboard and drowned.

Did you know that the Coast Guard can now do drug and alcohol screens right on the water? And when a middle aged man is found overboard he is either drunk and/or unzipped?

If you have the book and want to follow along – homework is chapters 1 – 4.  Yikes!

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