Get a safe start
Kick off boating season safely this Memorial Day weekend
After a brutal winter, there’s a mad rush for boaters to get back on the water for the boating season’s annual kick-off, Memorial Day weekend. Be prepared by following these five tips:
- Make sure all safety gear—life jackets, radio, flares and other items—are ready to go. If you have the newer, more comfortable inflatable life jackets, be sure to open, inspect and test them by filling them with air, and let them sit overnight to ensure they will keep you buoyant. United States Power Squadrons and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer free Vessel Safety Checks.
- Avoid a springtime sinking by ensuring any drive gear such as outdrive bellows (inboard/outboard), shaft packings (inboards), livewell and engine cooling plumbing, or through-hull fittings are not cracked, rotted, or severely corroded. Follow this step-by-step free spring commissioning checklist.
- For freshwater boaters: If you keep your boat in a marina or dock that has electrical service, test that there is no stray current leaking into the water where it could potentially lead to Electric Shock Drowning, an often misunderstood and overlooked safety concern.
- Have a plan B to get home in case your boat won’t get you back to the ramp or dock. On-water or on-the-road assistance for a disabled boat trailer can be summoned with a free BoatUS Towing App.
- Make everyone an important part of your crew. In some areas, boating traffic could be up significantly, so use your crew as extra lookouts, share the sunblock, and have plenty of water aboard to stay hydrated. If alcohol is in your plans, celebrate the opening of the season back at the dock or home where you’ll be in a much safer spot.