Share the Chesapeake Bay boating season with the ones you love

February 15, 2018




If you are looking to share the upcoming boating season with your Valentines on the Chesapeake Bay, we’d like to suggest that you take this “winter down time” to reflect on safety aboard. And remember that safe boating begins with you.

While you’re dreaming of being back out on the water, use your non-boating time to get ready for boating. Check through your safety equipment aboard. Make sure you have everything in place so you’re ready to go next month.

In addition to the Vessel and Equipment Checklist below, make sure that you address what to do if anyone falls overboard. Don’t let a wet deck or loose shoelace turn your day into a disaster. While losing your balance and hitting the water is bad, every boater should be aware that this may happen and every boat builder should equip their boats to facilitate reboarding by a person who has fallen overboard.

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Standards, in section 41.9.1, clearly states that a, “Means of unassisted reboarding shall be provided on all boats, and must be accessible to, or deployable by, the person in the water.”

Spring launch is right around the corner! Here’s a handy Vessel and Equipment Checklist from the USCG:

Personal papers; operator’s certificate or license (if required) onboard, current.
︎Ship’s papers; registration or documentation certificate.
︎Life jacket suitable for each person on board, readily accessible, in good condition.
︎Throwable floatation aid immediately available.
︎Fire extinguishers conveniently placed, fully charged, in good condition.
︎Visual distress signals with current expiration dates.
︎Horn working.
︎Bell (if required) onboard.
︎Anchor and anchor line appropriate to area, depth, conditions.
︎Compass properly adjusted.
︎Charts for the area, up to date.
︎Navigation tools.
︎Boat hook.
︎Mooring lines and fenders in good condition.
︎Paddles or oars.
︎Tool kit and spare parts (including light bulbs, fuses).
Bilge free of fuel vapors and excess water.
Fuel supply full.
Fuel system free of leaks.
Engine oil and transmission fluid levels correct.
Battery fully charged, fluid level full.
Electronic gear in good condition.
Engine drive belts tight, in good condition.
All navigation lights working.
Steering and shift mechanisms in good condition.
Outboard motor mountings tight (if appropriate).
Grab rails, life-lines in good condition.

Additional Resources:
United States Coast Guard Boating Safety
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary



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