Real Cops Real Crime Real Advice
Safe Boating Is No Accident!
With summer in full swing water sports is on many families minds. Perhaps you will spend some time at your favorite lake this year. Maybe youll rent a boat or canoe. Fishing, skiing, or just cruising are popular activities for millions. Every year however we invariably read in the local newspaper of a joyous occasion turn tragic because the operator of a watercraft didnt follow the basic rules. People who would never take unnecessary risks on the road with their car will push fate on the water. Too often these chances end in tragedy. Realizing that many of you will occupy your leisure time on or near water, SafetyCops wants to remind boaters to follow the Rules of the Road.
As the skipper of a boat, you are responsible for the vessel, for the safety of those aboard and for others in boats nearby. You are also responsible for swimmers, water-skiers and anyone else who may be affected by your boats course or its wake. It doesnt matter whether your boat is big or small, powered or sail, safety begins with you!
Your water fun depends on you, your equipment and other people who, like yourself, enjoy spending leisure time on, in or near the water. Let's take a look at your responsibilities:
All recreational boats must carry one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III or V) for each person aboard. Any boat 16ft and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable PFD (Type IV). PFDs must be
Some states require that children wear PFDs: Check with your state boating safety officials.
Take a Boaters Safety Course
This article is not intended to make you a competent skipper. It takes a combination education and experience to become proficient in the safe operation of any conveyance, be it on land, water, or air. You wouldnt think of piloting an airplane or driving a car without proper training. Yet thousands of people go out on the water in a boat, canoe, or jet ski with only the most basic knowledge of how to operate the craft. Dont learn boating through the school of hard knocks! Boating courses are offered through many organizations for no or very little cost. Take advantage of these and find out where in your area they are offered. You will be surprised how interacting with others sharing your interest in boating will make the sport more enjoyable. The information and tips just might save your life! At the end of this article are some links to boating organizations devoted to educating boaters and keeping you safe. Check them out.
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is Illegal Nationwide
It is unlawful in every State to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition to State BUI laws, there is also a Federal law, enforced by the Coast Guard, prohibiting BUI. This law applies to all boats, including foreign vessels, in U.S. waters and U.S. vessels on the high seas.
Penalties for BUI are Severe
The Coast Guard and every State have stringent penalties for violation of BUI laws, including the possibility of not only a large fine, suspension or revocation of operator privileges, but perhaps a jail term. The Coast Guard and the States, in a mutual effort to remove impaired boat operators from the water, cooperate fully. In sole State waters, States have authority to enforce their own BUI statutes. Within State waters that are also subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S., there is concurrent jurisdiction. If, in these waters, a boater is apprehended under Federal law, the Coast Guard will, unless precluded by State law, request that State enforcement officers assume custody of an intoxicated boater.
Suggested Ways to Avoid the Hazards of Alcohol
Boating doesn't need any stimulus to make it fun. Fishing doesn't need any liquid bait to improve the catch. Consider these alternatives to alcohol and boating:
Remember that you, as the operator of a watercraft, are liable for injury or damage caused through your negligence or recklessness. Every year we hear of a personal tragedy in the media involving a boat and alcohol. Dont become a statistic. SafetyCops says "Booze and Boats Dont Mix!!"
To find out more about Safe Boating, check out one of these fine organizations:
Send mail to email@example.com with questions or comments about this website. Copyright © 2000 SafetyCops.com