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Don't Sink Your Ship! Boating Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Steven on 6/10/2014 to Marina
We love having boaters pay a visit to our humble business when they are cruising Chesapeake Bay. While we welcome all boaters, we are well aware that there are seasoned seamen on some of these boats, while others are taking their boat out for the first time or just seasonally as the warmer weather hits. 

And believe it or not, no matter whether you have been on the sea all your life or your are a rank amateur, everybody makes mistakes on the water. We're all human - the key is to not make the really big mistakes that lose passengers or drivers or cause significant damage to the boat. Some of the mistakes are merely protocol or missing the speed buoys as you come into a marina or dock area. However, there are some mistakes that may look minor, but they could have major consequences, so we would encourage all of our boating friends to pay attention to these common, but potentially dangerous mistakes and try to avoid them every time you are on the water. 

If you avoid these five mistakes, you will likely have a fun and successful trip on the water:
  1. No life jacket. The U.S. Coast Guard keeps records of boating accidents, injuries and deaths, and it reports that drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in boating accidents or incidents. Wearing a life jacket at all times while on the boat will be a great safety precaution. And you should make sure you know how to use so it's most effective.
  2. Drinking. We're not talking water here. Boating under the influence is very dangerous for everyone on board - even the passengers aren't immune. The best way to go is to leave the alcohol at home when boating.
  3. No float plan. Not having a float plan can mean trouble if something happens to you or your boat. Time is of the essence, and a float plan makes search and rescue quicker. A float plan consists of where you're departing, where you're going, how long you expect to be gone, when you'll return and if there are any planned stops along the way. Also you should include as much identifying detail about your boat and the names of your passengers. The info should be left with a family member, friend, or left in your vehicle or with your marina's dock master. If you don't come back on time, the float plan can be used to contact the Coast Guard.
  4. What regulations? Do not play ignorant with Coast Guard regulations and state or local boating laws. Being a lawbreaker on the water can be every bit as dangerous as breaking the law on the road, and ignorance is not a defense. Know your can-dos and can't-dos.
  5. Hello boat, nice to meet you. As time is of the essence, it would be unwise to go on the water without knowing your boat. Understand what it can and can't do and what you as a driver can and can't do. Knowing the limitations, as well as knowing where all of the safety equipment is stored, can make a big difference in whether everyone survives a problem or whether causalities will result. 
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