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Overboard!

Most of us are pretty laid back on our boats. After all, thatÂ’s why we learn to sail–to relax and have some fun. No one wants to think about using Captain Bligh as a role model when weÂ’re on the lake or even coastal cruising. Still, there are times when itÂ’s vital for everyone on…

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Identifying Aids to Navigation

You are fishing offshore when you hear storm warnings on your radio. You decide to head for the nearest inlet. You encounter the following buoys in the following order. What do they mean and what should you do? This maker indicates a mid-channel or safe water mark. This will usually be the first marker you…

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Getting Help on the Water

From the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Education Branch On the water, minor problems can rapidly develop into a situation beyond your control. For this reason, let someone know even when you are experiencing relatively minor difficulties, before your situation turns into an emergency. The Coast Guard serves as Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinator for all…

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Heavy Weather Boat Handling – Part 2

Boat Handling Under Adverse Conditions Some of the most challenging conditions you may encounter as a skipper are the adverse conditions of “Heavy Weather.” The size of your boat does not have much to do with its seaworthiness. How it will handle adverse conditions is more or less built in during the design and construction….

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GPS Overview – The Sky’s The Limit

What is GPS? GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a satellite-based navigation system developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide a consistent, accurate method of simplifying navigation. It was originally designed for the military, however, it provides both commercial and recreational users 24 hour, worldwide navigation coverage with a possible accuracy to 15…

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A Little Boating Humor

An Open Letter To My Creditors Dear Banks and/or Credit Unions to whom I owe money, I have started down that slippery slope to bankruptcy and thought you might appreciate it if I gave you plenty of advance notice. Granted, this may not happen for a while, but I didnÂ’t want it to be a…

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PRE-DEPARTURE CHECK LIST

PRE-DEPARTURE CHECK LIST Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) At least one Coast Guard approved device per passenger and a minimum of two on board. An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long. Explain the location and use of all PFDs to passengers and crew that may be new to…

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Sample Float Plan

Sample Float Plan Name of vessel’s operator: Telephone Number: Name of Vessel: Registration No.: Description of Vessel: Type: Make: Color of Hull: Color of Trim: Most distinguishing identifiable feature: Rafts/Dinghies: Number:________ Size:_______ Color:_______ Radio: Type: __________________ Frequencies Monitored: _______________ Number of persons onboard: Name: Age: Address & Telephone: Note: List additional passengers on back. Engine…

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Boating Accidents – A Real Life “Horror Story”

The following actual, real life story was submitted by a friend of boatsafe.com. Although the outcome could have been tragic, it was not, due to some quick thinking. I work for a government agency that has a number of boats on the large rivers. In addition to my scientific duties, I serve as a motorboat…

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Bilge Pumps

It is important to frequently test your bilge pumps by switching from the automatic to manual position on the bilge pump switch. However, this doesn’t guarantee that the pump will work when unattended. You should also check the automatic float switch by manually raising it to make sure that it turns on the pump. Also,…

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Dayshapes

Restricted Maneuverability Aground Not Under Command Achored Fishing Under sail and power Towing over 200 meters astern Fishing – gear out over 150 meters Dayshapes can be used together such as in this example A vessel engaged in dredging or underwater operations:Two balls in a vertical line indicate the side on which the obstruction exists….

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Your Boat’s Aground – What Now?

What do you do when you find yourself aground with the potential of being set further aground as the tide rises? We had lots of good responses to last week’s question. Many of you had good, logical ideas that I have put together here. Shut off engine to prevent sucking in mud. If in a…

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What To Do If You Think You’ve Caught a World Record Fish

(ARA) — If you catch a fish you think may be worthy of a record (e.g., lake, state, line class), the International Game Fish Association has set aside a few tips to ensure your record fish won’t get away. Don’t delay! Remember, don’t delay in weighing your fish. There are a number of elements that…

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How to Read a Life Jacket Label

(This is a representative label. The form and content will vary by manufacturer.) FLOTATION AID – TYPE III PFD KAYAKSPORT KAYAKING AND SAILING VEST ABC LIFEJACKET, INC. 1245 BOATING LANE WASHINGTON, DC 2000 MODEL SQXX MADE IN U.S.A. This device is not to be fastened to the boat. Polyvinyl chloride foam buoyancy material provides a…

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Preventable Tragedy

A recent tragic accident prompts this reminder about boating and alcohol. Two boaters, out for a day of fishing, were returning to the boat ramp to load up for the day. Less than one-half mile from the ramp they ran into a channel marker. Both men were thrown from the boat. One man survived, the…

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Float Plans Save Lives

You have decided to go offshore for a day of fishing in your 25 foot boat. The winds and seas are calm. It is an absolutely gorgeous day with temperatures reaching the high 70Â’s. The day just keeps getting better. The fishing is great. YouÂ’re pulling them in one right after another. The sun is…

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Safe Navigation Information

Statistics have repeatedly demonstrated that accidents and deaths are significantly reduced when boating education is increased. Every boater should be encouraged to take a recognized boating safety course. Some boat insurance companies actually provide discounts for completion of these courses. Please call the U.S. Coast Guard’s Customer Service Hotline at (800)-368-5647 to determine the location…

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Prevention of Torso Reflex and the Proper Use of the Stearns’ Cold Water/Ice Rescue Suit

The purpose of this article is to describe the proper use and application of the Stearns Cold Water/ Ice Rescue Suit by Fire, Rescue, and other Public Safety Personnel during cold water and ice rescue incidents. This article has been specifically written to address the prevention of Torso Reflex or Inhalation Response during the rescuer’s…

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Docking Stern To

Stern To — by Charles T. Low, author of Boat Docking for Boat Safe Stern to docking has many advantages over docking with the bow in towards land. In many boats, it’s just easier to load gear and get on and off from the cockpit than over the bow. Although docking this way is commonly done, it’s also…

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