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Boating Taboos to Avoid

Avoid these boating safety taboos and keep your crew safe.
Boating Safety

Jumping Ship
Here’s one that no one should be patient with. Kids are guilty of it and I’ve seen too many adults do it, too. The boat approaches the dock and one nimble nut scrambles up on the gunwale and leaps to the dock. YouTube is populated with the highly comedic but often dangerous results. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: Leaping from the boat will cause it to move from the dock, often lengthening the distance beyond the jumper’s reach. It also pushes the boat off course, turning an uneventful landing into a boat-dinging disaster. Warn your crew of the dangers as you approach the dock and keep an eye peeled for any mutinous leaper who can’t wait until the lines are lashed and the boat is secured.

Not Having a Reboarding Ladder
A reboarding ladder is essential safety gear. Fortunately, the National Marine Manufacturers Association requires boats be equipped with one that can be deployed from within the water. If your boat doesn’t have one, get one. You can add a bolt on boarding platform with drop down ladder, or you can add a dive ladder that clamps to the transom when not in use. Trying to climb up on a slippery cavitation plate on the outboard or sterndrive gearcase is a good way to sever the tendons in your foot or suffer a life-threatening gash in your leg. The props are sharp, and they’re right below the narrow plate that many boaters use for a step — which is a bad idea.

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The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include: wearing a life jacket at all times and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence (BUI); successfully completing a boating safety course; and getting a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons(r), or your state boating agency's Vessel Examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to "Boat Responsibly!" For more tips on boating safety, visit

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