Here are some practical hints and tips to help you enjoy recreational boating and minimize your exposure to some of the hazards. This page may also include selected news about safety hazards. Much of what you see on this page is common sense, but so is safe boating…courtesy and common sense.




Proper Loading Tips

Proper Loading Tips

The Coast Guard requires all single-hulled boats of less than 20 feet in length to have a capacity plate, installed where visible from the operator’s station. Since most boats in the U. S. are less than 20 feet in length, more than 50% of boaters need to know...
Rules of the Road Hints & Tips

Rules of the Road Hints & Tips

Although there is no such thing as a “right-of-way” in boating, there are written rules which specify who has certain “privilege” in meeting, crossing, or overtaking situations on the water. These “Rules of the Road”, or NavRules or...
Wakes Hints & Tips

Wakes Hints & Tips

When anticipating meeting another boat’s wake, seat all passengers aft or amidships, away from the bow. Most serious injuries are to those seated near the bow. Be sure and warn everybody on board when approaching another boat’s wake. Passenger who are...
Weather Tips

Weather Tips

If caught in heavy weather, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket. If offshore, jot down your current location. Reduce speed, secure all loose objects and rigging on deck, close or cover all hatches and openings, and put on a PFD. Also, make sure...
Boats & Equipment Hints & Tips

Boats & Equipment Hints & Tips

Call your nearest Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron unit and ask them for a free, comprehensive Vessel Safety Check. They’ll look over all your equipment to make sure that you meet State and Federal safety requirements, and give you lots of good ideas on...
Locks & Locking Through Hints & Tips

Locks & Locking Through Hints & Tips

When locking through, always follow the directions of the lockmaster. He or she probably has far more experience than you do in matters of lock space management, hydraulics, and conditions affecting safe and efficient lockage. Before entering the lock, all passengers...
Fire & Extinguishers Hints & Tips

Fire & Extinguishers Hints & Tips

Regulations require that Type B fire extinguishers be onboard where one or more of the following conditions are present: where there is an inboard engine where there is closed living space where there is a permanently mounted fuel tank where there are closed...
Personal Flotation Devices Hints & Tips

Personal Flotation Devices Hints & Tips

Always look for the Coast Guard approval number on any PFD you purchase. Try on your PFD to see if it fits comfortably snug. Then test it in shallow water to see how it handles. To check the buoyancy of your PFD in the water, relax your body and let your head tilt...
Use Your Common Sense Tips

Use Your Common Sense Tips

Take a boating course from your local Power Squadron, CG Auxiliary, Red Cross, or State agency. Each year statistics show that less than 10% of the victims of fatal boating accidents were known to have taken any kind of formal boating course. Statistically, the...
Cool Estimation Techniques & Tips

Cool Estimation Techniques & Tips

Estimating Distances to Horizontal Objects – To make a quick estimate of distance, extend your arm straight out in the direction of the object, and stick your thumb up. Close one eye and line up one side of your thumb with the object (another boat or a building,...
General Tips

General Tips

When special passengers are on board, be sure and take into consideration extraordinary loads, such as the weight of an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter. These special needs items can add significant weight to your boat’s load which can affect trim and...
Tows, Rescues, Emergencies Hints & Tips

Tows, Rescues, Emergencies Hints & Tips

It makes good sense to tow another boat with a twisted nylon line of adequate size and dependable integrity, so that the stretch in the line softens any shock to the cleats on both boats. The drawback is that if the line does give way, the stretch in the line will...
Boaters & Alcohol Tips

Boaters & Alcohol Tips

Most boaters understand the risks involved when someone drinks alcohol and gets behind the helm. But what happens if an inebriated boating guest is injured or even dies? The startling answer lies in May 2005 issue of Seaworthy, the damage avoidance magazine from...
Boat Handling Hints & Tips

Boat Handling Hints & Tips

Become familiar with the handling characteristics of your boat. Most motorboats don’t steer very well when they lose power, and current and wind can make it even more difficult. So try and keep “way on” and your boat in motion when maneuvering in...
Trailering & Launching Hints & Tips

Trailering & Launching Hints & Tips

Want to minimize the chances of trouble on the road with your trailer? Then pay attention to the three main causes of roadside breakdowns…flat tires, bearing failures, and tow vehicle problems like overheating. If you maintain your tires and bearing on the...
Anchoring & Ground Tackle Hints & Tips

Anchoring & Ground Tackle Hints & Tips

Remember, an anchor is more than just something to hold you in place while the kids take a dip. It can be a life-saver if you get caught out in heavy weather and are in danger of being blown into a treacherous shore or reef. Don’t forget to tie off the bitter...
Fuel & Fueling Hints & Tips

Fuel & Fueling Hints & Tips

NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION FUELING PROCEDURES Before Fueling 1. Stop all engines and auxiliaries. 2. Shut off all electricity, open flames, and heat sources. 3. Check bilges for fuel vapors. 4. Extinguish all smoking materials. 5. Close all fittings and...
Carbon Monoxide Hints & Tips

Carbon Monoxide Hints & Tips

Carbon Monoxide (CO) accumulation is affected by a multitude of variables, such as boat geometry, hatch openings, ventilation, proximity to other structures, swim platforms, canvas, location of exhaust outlets, vessel attitude, wind speed and direction, boat speed,...
Lights & Night Boating Hints & Tips

Lights & Night Boating Hints & Tips

If you’re in a powerboat at night, and see another boat’s red light and white light, but not the green light, you are generally in a “give-way” position. This means that you must slow, turn, stop, or make whatever other maneuver is necessary to...
Lines, Docking & Mooring Hints & Tips

Lines, Docking & Mooring Hints & Tips

Your lines should be dry, neatly coiled, and kept out of the sun when not in use. You’ll find the life and integrity of the lines will be extended greatly if you take care of them. Nylon line is best for tying up to a pier, because it has enough stretch to...