Hello, three-day weekend! Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial official ending to summer. Our last big hurrah as school begins and silly costumes decorate the stores.
As you’re getting ready for your holiday travels, don’t sweat the small stuff. We won’t leave you high and dry, we got your back with our top 7 safety tips for boating.
So for Labor Day 2018 here are your ultimate...
Boats don’t drive themselves, so as a driver of any boat it’s encouraged to be properly educated in how to operate them. Just like driving a car or plane, driving a boat requires hands on experience, guidelines and rules.
Based on your location there are boating licenses/education certificates required. The prices vary, but it’s through your state’s natural resources and wildlife departments.
There might be some confusion tied to boating licenses and education certificates because places tend to use them interchangeably and are often thought of as being two separate papers you must get. But please don’t be confused because they are essentially the same thing. They never expire, so you don’t have to worry about renewing them. Whether you call it a license or education certificate, going through the training and getting one is a must to drive a boat.
To avoid annoying hiccups this weekend, take a few minutes to inspect your boat and make sure everything is up-to-date such as expiry dates and supplies.
It’s reported that about 70 percent of all boating incidents are related to boating mechanics and equipment. You can bypass that now if you do a quick trip around the boat, so later you’ll be spending more time fishing for Bass and less time fishing for parts.
Boating under the influence is deep water nobody wants to go in. It increases the likelihood of accidental deaths, injuries and damage to the area and people around you. To ensure you are on top of your game, don’t drink while driving a boat.
How do you know if you’re under the influence?
When it comes to operating heavy machinery and responsible for multiple people, even one beer could be too many. It’s encouraged the driver and preferably another person remain sober while out on the waters.
Do you remember the days sitting in the backseat of your parent’s minivan asking if you’re there yet? It’s an age-old question that continues to be asked by all.
Float plans are designed to answer that very question as well as many others, so everyone is in the loop. It’s good to have a game plan for where you’re headed, your route and a guesstimate of how long it’ll take to get there. It’s not only helpful for your party to know when you’ll get there, but we suggest sharing your playbook with someone back on shore. That way there’s always someone in-the-know and looking out for you in case something goes wrong.
We know you’ll be looking for sunny skies, but don’t forget to think about the water conditions as well. It’s just as important as what’s in the sky.
It’s incredibly important to have an idea of the weather conditions at all times. Of course, Mother Nature is unpredictable, but knowing beforehand what the weather will be like to and from and while you’re there, will help keep everyone aboard safe during the vacation. One of the most recommended weather apps is the NOAA Weather Radar App. It’s ranked as the #1 weather app and should be on every boater’s phone.
We know you use your phone for practically everything these days. It serves as your doctor, your mathematician and your tour guide on the road. So, why not use it as your safety net while you’re off the grid? Along with the NOAA Weather Radar app here are some must-have safety apps for boating this Labor Day.
Please note, as helpful as the following apps are, they are not to replace any of your safety equipment like your marine VHF radio and signaling devices.
The United States Coast Guard created a boating safety app in attempt to prevent loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental harm. Their mobile app provides services and information that is frequently asked by boaters.
The USCG Boating Safety App has a multitude of informative and helpful resources including: state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; float plans; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity; latest weather reports from closest NOAA weather buoys; hazardous water; emergency assistance button that calls closest coast guard command center.
2. Boat Essentials App (IOS devices only/Free)
The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) released its Boat Essentials App. It is currently only available for IOS devices. It serves as a simple checklist for your safety gear. It also tracks scheduled maintenance, files and saves float plans, sets reminders for inspection or expiry dates and links to boating agencies.
3. Float Plan App (IOS devices only/$0.99)
This app does exactly what it says, it helps you create a float plan. You can detail it with all the important information such as your destinations, vessel information, party information, and estimated time arrival. It will also email a copy of your float plan to your pre-programmed “person of trust,” so someone else will know your game plan, too.
These apps are handy because of how accessible they are for you. The float plan, your checklists, the reminders and of course emergency contact information is all in one place and on one central device. Even if you favor paper over digital, having both a hardcopy and a digital copy is a smart way to be sure you always have all the information you need.
To stay afloat and your boat running smooth, always have a boat safety kit with you on hand. They can differ in size and what’s in them, but your kit should absolutely include your marine VHF radio, multiple signaling devices, compass, your water charts, an engine cut off device and lifejackets for every person on the boat. Have this emergency kit handy and easy to access because you never know when you’ll need it.
On top of these safety tips, a few other resources to store in your back pocket include: Boating Safety Hotline: 1-800-368-5647; Boating Agency based on your location; and the Coast Guard District contact information.
If it’s an emergency: tune your VHF radio to FM Channel 16 (156.8MHz) and dial 911.
We hope this weekend is another one for the books. Thank you very much for tuning in with us and reading our blog. We can’t wait to see you on the docks. Keep us posted with all your Labor Day adventures!
And for the love of fish, please boat responsibly.
The Bubba Crew
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