New York Sea Grant offers the following top 10 tips for boaters in 2015:
. Learn about Suddenly In Command training so everyone aboard can be prepared to act calmly and properly in the event of an emergency on the water.
. Learn how to conduct an easy-to-do Clean, Drain, Dry inspection of your watercraft, trailer and gear to remove aquatic invasive species and debris each time you enter and leave new water.
. Make sure all passengers are wearing a proper life jacket. A throwable floatation device is required onboard boats more than 16 feet long.
. Check that all the safety features of your boat trailer are in proper working order.
. Check the number and expiration date/s of onboard fire extinguisher/s and flares. Store flares and distress signals in a dry compartment.
. Use a fuel nozzle bib when fueling your boat and a bilge sock to keep marine fuel from spilling into the water.
. Make sure all vessel lights are working and flashlights have fresh batteries.
. Have a proper device onboard to receive weather alerts.
. Check to be sure you have the proper navigational charts onboard.
. Check that the boat horn, whistles, distress flag and other means of signaling an emergency distress are in working order.
New York Sea Grant and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 21 are partnering to instruct people on the boating basics they need to know in the event of an emergency on the water. Several marinas have requested the program for their sites once the 2015 boating season gets underway.
The campaign has educated more than half-a-million boaters, anglers, duck hunters, pontoon boat and paddle sports enthusiasts, deaf boaters, and, in 2014, New York first responders who handle water-related emergencies.
New York Sea Grant offers boating safety resource links for selecting the right life jacket, developing a float plan, requesting a courtesy vessel check and more online at www.nyseagrant.org/marina.
Photo by Shannon Houlihan.