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Make Memorial Day Weekend a safe boating weekend

Safe Boating for the start of the season
Safe Boating for the start of the season
JH

With the Memorial Day Weekend rapidly approaching, it’s time to take a look at your boat before venturing out for the weekend activities.

Here are five vital tips to make the early season activities successful. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it will get you started in the right direction.

1 Batteries Check your batteries for fluid. Be sure the connections are clean and securely fastened to the battery terminal. If the connections show corrosion, apply a solution of baking soda and water to the cables and the terminals. Wash off with fresh water.

2 Safety Gear Check the safety gear on the boat. If you took the PFD’s off at the end of last season, check them for cleanliness. Verify that the fasteners are operational. If you have small children, be sure that they still fit in the PFD’s they previously used. If not, purchase new PFD’s for them. Verify that your signaling devices are current. If out of date, replace them, but keep the older ones aboard.

Go to the USCG site and create a checklist for required safety gear for the size of your vessel. Use the checklist each time you prepare to go out.

3 Radio check Call on Channel 9 for a Radio Check (this is not legal for a land-based check). It should be done when the boat is in the water. Avoid using Channel 16 for a Radio Check.

4 Bilge Pumps Check the operation and the cleanliness of the pump. Verify that the strainer on the pump is clear of debris.

5 Float Plan Always leave a Float Plan with a responsible party. For a good example of a useful Float Plan, check this online site: http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/FloatPlan.pdf

Make the 2014 Boating Season your safest ever. Have fun on the water