May 2007

Safe Boating Checklist

When preparing for a day on the water, cover the basics: Arm yourself with swimming and boating skills; enroll in a swim course and a boating course.

  • Buckle up with a comfortable and properly fitted life jacket.
  • Install and maintain a CO detector in accommodation areas. Remember that you can be exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide both inside and outside a boat.
  • Watch the weather to prepare for local conditions and electrical storms. Because water conducts electricity, it is time to stop boating if you can see or hear a storm.
  • Communicate your trip details in case of emergency. Tell your plan to a friend on the mainland: who is on the boat, where you will be, and how long you will be gone. File a FLOAT PLAN!
  • Never operate a boat while or after drinking alcohol.
  • Remember to keep all boat maintenance chemicals in their original containers. Keep these, as well as medications, lighter fluid, bug killers, lamp oil and alcohol out of sight and reach of children.
  • Post the Poison Control Center number, 1-800-222-1222, on the boat and call its 24-hour hotline for any suspected problems or questions concerning carbon monoxide or other poison emergencies.
  • Post CPR instructions and a local emergency number on the boat. Keep up to date on CPR procedures.
  • Maintain constant supervision of children, regardless of their swimming abilities. Wear life jackets always.
  • Do not swim or wade near a boat's exhaust pipe, sit on the swim platform when the engine is running, or hold onto the deck while the boat is moving. Keep your boat a minimum of 20 feet from the nearest running generator or engine. Never, ever enter the enclosed exhaust vent area under a swim platform! Exhaust from boat engines can be deadly sources of carbon monoxide poisoning.