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Boat Safety Tips


Signed into law in 1971, the Federal Boat Safety Act made safe boating a year-round mission. Today, the act is credited with greatly reducing boating related fatalities. In appreciation of this important legislation, take a few minutes to review this checklist to ensure you are safe boating ready.


Check these must-have items:


  • Fire Extinguisher – Check your extinguisher to be sure it is the right size and type for your boat. Then make sure that it is fully charged. While you’re thinking about it, go over the proper way to use a fire extinguisher using the acronym PASS – Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. This would be a good time to teach that same technique to your children.
  • Flares – Do you have them? Have you checked the dates to be sure they have not expired?
  • Sounding Device – Check your boat horn, air horn, or whistle to ensure you can audibly signal another boat if necessary. To learn more about signaling devices and determine the best options for your boating needs, click here.
  • Personal Flotation Devices – Be sure you have enough for every passenger on your boat. Check for any tears, dry rot, or other wear that may prohibit the flotation device from working properly, and be sure to have the right sizes for everyone onboard. If you have auto-inflatable life vests, be sure that the C02 cylinders are properly installed. If the vest has been discharged, replace it with a new cartridge.
  • Throw Cushion – Like your life preservers, examine to be sure it’s in good shape. Also, designate a location to keep the cushion where it is easily accessible. 


Additional boat safety tips:


  • Before leaving the dock, make sure that everyone has a properly fitting personal flotation device.
  • File a float plan with a family member or neighbor so someone knows where you are going and what time you plan to return. Learn more about float plans.