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Safe Boating Tips

Alcohol: Be a sober boater. Alcohol adversely affects vital body functions such as balance, coordination, vision, and judgment. It may also slow your reaction time and increase your susceptibility to hypothermia.

Weather Awareness: Always know the current weather forecast and wave conditions before getting underway. Sudden wind shifts, lightning flashes, and choppy water all can mean a storm is brewing. When bad weather approaches try to get off the water or get as close to a safe harbor as possible. Always bring a portable radio to check weather reports.

Tell Someone: Let someone on shore know where you are going, who is with you, and when you plan on returning. Too often, the Coast Guard has to search for an "overdue" boat when the owner has already returned to shore.

Check Equipment: Before leaving shore make sure that your boat and any equipment are functioning properly. Always make sure you have enough fuel and as a precaution have a reserve gas supply on board.
Ventilation: After fueling your boat open hatches, run the blower, and sniff for gasoline fumes in the fuel and engine areas before starting your engine.
Radio/Cell Phone: Every boat should have a marine radio and preferably a cellular phone in case the radio stops functioning. The ability to contact the Coast Guard or another boater is your first line of defense in an emergency.

Positioning: Bring charts and maps of the area where you will be boating. This will help ensure that you remain in the correct location. Bring a Global Position System (GPS) unit to record accurate positions. Your position is the first thing the Coast Guard or towing service will ask you. GPS units also serve as a compass. This will enable you to know your orientation.

Anchor/Line: Always anchor from the bow of your boat, and use anchor line length at least five times longer than water depth. If your boat breaks down be sure to drop the anchor so that your boat will remain in the same position.

Extra Gear: Bring a flashlight and extra batteries, flares, sun tan lotion, first aid kit, extra sunglasses and store the items that need to be protected in a watertight container that floats.

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