page is provided to our Members as Safety Guide Tips. It is not
intended to be all-inclusive nor comprehensive enough to be your only source of
safety rules. As a boat owner it is your
responsibility to comply with your specific state regulations pertaining to
boating safety. These regulations vary from state to state . To insure
compliance contact your State Boating Law Administrator or local Coast Guard
To help you in obtaining all the facts and regulations specific
to your state we provide the following:
BOATING LAW ADMINISTRATORS
VERY IMPORTANT SAFETY LINKS. PLEASE CHECK THEM
United States Power
US Coast Guard Office of Boating
National Safe Boating
Fueling your Boat.
If handled in too
casual a manner, this procedure can be very dangerous. Please review the
following fueling safety precautions:
1. Stop all
2. Shut off all
electricity, open flames, and heat sources.
3. Check bilges for
fuel vapors. (For boats with enclosed engine and / or fuel
4. Extinguish all
5. Close all
fittings and openings that could allow fuel vapors to enter the boat's enclosed
6a. Remove all
personnel from the boat except the person handling the fueling
6b. Make sure the
children keep their floatation gear on while transferring in and out of the
1. Maintain nozzle
contact with fill pipe.
2. Fuel filling
nozzle must be attended at all times.
3. Wipe up fuel
Fueling and Before Starting Engine
1. Inspect bilges
for leakage or fuel odors. (For boats with enclosed engine and / or fuel
2. Ventilate until
odors are removed
Do not take
unnecessary risks while water-skiing. Know your limitations. If you are new to
skiing try each new skill one at a time. Become proficient and then move on to
the next skill.
should be at least 75 feet long.
Have an observer
in the tow boat at all times. The boat driver cannot drive the boat and watch
the skier at the same time.
should use a rear view mirror.
wear a Coast Guard approved PFD designed for water-skiing. This also goes for
the driver and observer too. Think about it. If you are injured staying afloat
is kind of important. While it is not, as a rule a good idea, the driver and or
the observer may need to get into the water to help you. Would you rather be
helped by a buoyant friend or a heavier than water ex-friend?
Never ski in
Stay clear of
congested areas. A crowded beach is not a good place to ski. Docks and bridges
hurt when skiers hit them so it's a good idea to steer clear Mr. Driver!
Do not ski at
night. It's dumb and illegal.
NO ALCOHOL, the
skier, driver or observer. Save it for the party later in the
Be respectful of other boaters
and fishermen. Keep the boat in open water and in designated water-skiing
Capsizing or Swamping Your Boat.
There is a subtle difference
between capsizing and swamping a boat. Capsizing involves turning your boat
over. Swamping involves filling your boat with water. Usually a capsized boat
will result in a swamped boat.
The most common way boats swamp:
Under power a boat running with it's bow up then quickly decelerates can cause
the wake to overtakes the stern. The effects are compounded in a heavily loaded
boat. To avoid this get in the habit of slowing down your boat
Most small boats will not sink
when swamped or capsized. Stay calm and consider these tips:
Take care of yourself first.
You can't help your passengers until your situation is under control.
Always stay with the boat
unless their is a greater danger such as a dam intakes or waterfall. Be sure
and keep everyone together.
If you are in cold water you
will need to consider the effects that hypothermia will have on you and your
passengers. It's a good idea to get everyone as far out of the water as
Attract attention. Use
anything you have to get attention. A bright article of clothing, everyone
waving, air horns, whistle or bells. Make a lot of noise. Just make sure there
is someone around to see or hear your signal. Otherwise, conserve your energy
until you feel you have a chance to be noticed.
Alcohol and Boating
Members, please do
not drink alcohol while boating !!
Over 1,000 people die in
boating accidents every year. Nine out of ten of them drown. About half those
deaths involve alcohol. It's tough enough to stay alert in the heat and sun but
adding alcohol to this exposure intensifies the effects. Sometimes just a
couple of beers are too many. When you're drinking, statistically, you're much
more likely to fall overboard. Alcohol also reduces your body's ability to
protect against cold water. So within minutes you may not be able to call for
help, or swim to safety. Actually, a drunken person whose head is immersed can
be confused and swim down to death instead of up to safety.
Thanks, Captain Jim
There is very little
that can happen to a boat in the open water that is more distressful than a
fire onboard. This is a prospect I hope and pray no member will ever have to
face. But, if it does happen, being well prepared is a key to survival. First
make sure you have a Coast Guard approved FULLY CHARGED fire
extinguisher(s) for your type and size of boat.
If a fire breaks out while
you are underway, stop the boat immediately. Rushing air is fuel to a fire.
If you have a radio, call for
Turn off electrical power.
Quickly assess the danger of
the fire spreading or a danger of explosion. If you feel either is possible
place your passengers in PFD's. Keep everyone together and instruct them to
swim clear of the boat.
If you feel there is time
consider placing the fire downwind of the rest of the boat to slow the spread
of the flames..
If the fire is of material
other than gas or oil such as wood or fabric, bail water on the fire.
If the fire stems from loose
material, the simplest course of action may be to toss the Item(s) overboard.
If the fire stems from gas,
oil or grease us your fire extinguisher. Because fire draws air in from the
bottom to fuel itself aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the
fire. Be aware that this type of fire has a tendency to re-flash so keep an eye
on it and be ready to act.
Using Your Fire Extinguisher
It is first important to note that not all fire extinguishers are
created equally. The type and size as well as the minimum number needed on hand
at all times depends on your specific situation. As usual we highly recommend
that you consult with your State Boating Law
Administrator or local Coast Guard Auxiliary
unit for the proper safety equipment for your
Even though extinguishers come in
a number of shapes and sizes, they all operate in a similar manner. Here's an
often used acronym to help you remember proper fire extinguisher use
P. A .S.
Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep
Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher that keeps the
handle locked in place and protects it from being accidentally discharged.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire while
standing at a safe distance, approximately 6 to 8 feet away from the fire.
Squeeze the handle to discharge the
Sweep the nozzle back and forth at
the base of the fire. After the fire appears to be out, watch it
carefully since it may re-ignite!
four basic ratings for extinguishers:
- Class A Extinguishers will
put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper. The numerical
rating for this class of fire extinguisher refers to the amount of water the
fire extinguisher holds and the amount of fire it will extinguish.
- Class B Extinguishers
should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline,
oil, etc. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher states the
approximate number of square feet of a flammable liquid fire that a non-expert
person can expect to extinguish.
- Class C Extinguishers are
suitable for use on electrically energized fires. This class of fire
extinguishers does not have a numerical rating. The presence of the letter
C indicates that the extinguishing agent is
- Class D Extinguishers are
designed for use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of
metal in question. There is no picture designator for Class D extinguishers.
These extinguishers generally have no rating nor are they given a multi-purpose
rating for use on other types of fires.
Many extinguishers available
today can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more
than one designator, e.g. A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. Make sure that if you have a
multi-purpose extinguisher it is properly labeled.
Why Men Drown
Men hold the distinction of
drowning in boat related incidents at a greater rate than women. Why? Well one
reason could be that men tend to be alone in boats more often. Many drown by
falling overboard. When a man is in a boat he usually stands up for one of two
reasons. The first is to cast or retrieve a line during fishing. The other has
to do with what is called " the call of nature". It has been reported in
various boating publications that a good 50% of men who drown are pulled out of
the water with their fly unzipped. I know, it sounds funny, but it is deadly
Another consideration is that in
cooler weather , men tend to wear heavy clothing while fishing. When submerged
heavy clothing, if you panic, can quickly soak up water making it almost impossible to stay
afloat. Those who are not good swimmers will immediately get into trouble by
trying to call for help while under water. The following tips will help in the
successful completion of a fishing trip regardless if any fish are
Never go fishing
Tell someone where you plan
to fish and when you plan to return.
Wear a Coast Guard approved
PFD floating devise for fishing while in the boat.
Know where you are at all
times on the boat. Don't get so caught up in the fishing experience that you
loose your place.
If you find yourself in the
water, stay calm. When submerged heavy clothing or waders can provide
flotation. Bending the knees will trap air in waders, providing flotation. Air
pockets in clothing can also help you stay afloat. Do not thrash about or try
to remove clothing or footwear. Keep your knees bent, float on your back and
paddle slowly to safety
Do not drink alcohol while in
Carry an empty jug onboard to
be used " when nature calls". Besides being much safer it it also more
considerate and polite.
This page is provided to our
Members as "Safety Guide
Tips". It is not intended to be all-inclusive nor
comprehensive enough to be your only source of safety rules. As a boat
owner it is your responsibility to comply with your specific state regulations
pertaining to boating safety. These regulations vary from state to state . To
insure compliance contact your BOATING LAW ADMINISTRATORS
STATE DIRECTORY or your local Coast Guard Auxiliary unit.
OK here's the real skinny on
PFD's. People do not wear them! The Coast Guard recommends everyone in
the boat wear a PFD while the boat is underway. RIGHT! The next time your out
on the water look around including your own boat. Count the number of PFD's
(other than skiers) . If you come up with a number larger than one you may
consider it a remarkable day.
Since we have established that
most boaters do not wear their PFD's while on their boats, we will say to you -
you should. But, if you don't, at least do this.
Make sure you have enough
PFD's for everyone on the boat.
Prior to casting off, have
each person select a PFD and try it on and cinch the straps to fit.
Have that person stow the PFD in an easily
accessible place. Ask them to remember where they placed it. It's a good idea
to test their memory on that location partially into the trip. Have a little
drill. Most will find it interesting and fun.
Never keep PFD's under lock
and key while underway.
Perform a periodic safety
check of all PFD's. Look for torn or weak straps and fasteners, mold or
Please consider the
following. If you complete the above 5 points consistently you will be looked
upon by all who boat with you as a conscientious, caring captain. You will be
the recipient of respect. No kidding! You will also be leading by example.
Other boaters will see you going through your regiment and may pick up the same
habit. It simply looks (and is) very professional. Thanks,Captain
What the American Red
Cross says about hot weather....
IN THE HOT WEATHER
. . .
Dress for the heat: Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors
will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats
or use an umbrella.
Drink Water: Carry water or juice with you and drink
continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which
dehydrate the body.
Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high
in protein which increase metabolic heat.
Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a
Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous
activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the
morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Stay indoors when possible.
KNOW WHAT THESE
HEAT-RELATED TERMS MEAN
wave: More than 48 hours of high heat (90 F or
higher) and high humidity (80% relative humidity) or higher are
A number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how
hot it really feels with the heat and humidity. Exposure to full sunshine can
increase the heat index by 15 F.
cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and
spasms due to heavy exertion. They usually involve the abdominal muscles or
legs. It is generally thought that the loss of water and salt from heavy
sweating causes the cramps.
Heat exhaustion is less dangerous than heat
stroke. It typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm,
humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss
causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of
shock. With heat exhaustion, sweat does not evaporate as it should, possibly
because of high humidity or too many layers of clothing. As a result, the body
is not cooled properly. Signals include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin;
heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body
temperature will be near normal.
Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is
life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces
sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high
that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak
pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very
high--sometimes as high as 105 F.
GENERAL CARE FOR
HEAT EMERGENCIES . . .
1. Cool the Body
2. Give Fluids
3. Minimize Shock
exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place
and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Give a half glass of cool
water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give
liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse.
Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels or
Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation!
Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a
cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Wrap wet sheets around the body and fan
it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's
wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood
vessels. (Do not use rubbing alcohol because it closes the skin's pores and
prevents heat lose.) Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the
airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
For more information
or to enroll in a Red Cross first aid and CPR course, contact the local
Cross chapter in your community.
Falling Overboard, First Avoid It!
(Part One): People fall overboard, it happens and it is not rare. Never
happened on your boat? If your answer is no then one of two things must be
true. 1) You practice most of the rules to avoid people falling overboard or 2)
you have been very lucky and it just hasn't happened...yet!
It is important to
schedule regular drills on your recovery procedure for person(s) overboard. One
quick word on "Drills". Make them just that ...a drill with everyone in Pfd's.
You are not supposed to create a realistic situation and then see how everyone
OK, lets concentrate
on not falling overboard.
1. "One hand for the
ship--one hand for yourself' In other words "Grab hold of something and don't
let go unless you have grabbed something else!". Another good rule is to always
try to maintain three points of contact at all times. Either two feet and one
hand or two hands and one foot.
3.Do not sit on
gunwales or seat backs.
your passengers of all maneuvers. Surprised passengers, especially during turns
and changes in speed, will become unstable quickly and vulnerable to falling.
5.Wear the right
footwear and be aware of slippery or uneven surfaces.
6. Save the
horse-play for your destination while anchored. Any skipper worth his or her
salt would never tolerate horse-play while underway!
7. As always it is a
good idea for everyone to wear Pfd's at all times, especially while
Falling Overboard Cont., Self Rescue
(Part Two):Who knows why he fell overboard? He may
have been leaning against the gunwale and his feet slipped. He may have had too
much to drink and a course change got him disoriented. Whatever the reason,
there he floats and he's not the greatest swimmer in the world!
The action needed,
at this point, will be determined on several factors:
1- What is the
ability for the person to save himself? Is he injured or uninjured? Is he a
2- What type of
weather are you in? What is the water's condition?
In this section we
will cover "Self Rescue". It can be the simplest technique. You'll notice I
said, "can be". You never want to take anything for granted. He may be the
greatest swimmer and seem uninjured and in an instant be in big trouble!
Ok here it is by the
1- Stop the boat and
throw a flotation devise. The rule is if it floats and it's nearby get it to
him fast! A "PFD" at one point needs to be one of those items, and the sooner
2- You will want to
turn your boat and move in closer to your swimmer. Appoint a spotter to keep an
eye on the swimmer. That person should now assume the role of a human arrow,
continuously pointing at the person in the water during the recovery.
3-Approach the person in a slow deliberate manner. It's best to move slightly
4- When you are
within reaching distance to the swimmer SHUT OFF THE MOTOR!
5- Assist the
swimmer into the boat.
6- As soon as
possible while the events are fresh in everyone's mind, conduct a debriefing.
Try and determine the cause of the accident and review the recovery to see if
anything can be learned.
Falling Overboard Cont.,Assisted
continued...Last part of three.
According to the
Executive Summary Boating Statistics compiles by the U.S. Department of
Transportation United States Coast Guard, 82% of fatalities occurred on boats
less than 26 feet in length and 71% of those victims drowned. I don't find that
surprising, smaller boats rock and roll more. It does however offer a reason
why I have spent the last three newsletters talking about "falls overboard".
This is the last in the series. In our last issue we covered the self-recovery
method. Definitely the easier of two recovery methods. This issue we will cover
the important points involving assisted recovery. But first a word of
The prospect of
writing about a situation involving a possible non-responsive person in the
water is daunting at best. There are too many variables involved; not the least
of which is the possible immediate loss of life if proper action is not taken
quickly. Each situation is different and your reaction will be dependant on
"conditions", water, weather and the person in the water. As with all safety
tips, you should not rely on a single source for all your safety information.
You may visit our Boat Safety Page on our site for your state safety
administration address and phone numbers.
BOATING LAW ADMINISTRATORS
OK, this time the
person is in the water and seems to be in real trouble. Your first response is
the same as the self-rescue, get something that floats to the person. He or she
may be able to help to some degree in the rescue. Second, resist going or
sending anyone in the water after the person overboard. If someone does go into
the water to help the person overboard, he or she MUST wear an approve PFD.
It is also important
that you do not lose site of the person overboard. As in our last article, if
there is one available, appoint a human arrow. That person should point
continuously at the person overboard while you maneuver the boat for recovery.
This is usually more important in the open ocean with larger waves than usually
found on inland bodies of water, but a good policy in any event.
The best way to
approach the person being recovered is to move the boat windward (towards to
wind) moving past the person and position the boat so that it will float back
towards the person overboard. Once you feel confident that the boat will drift
back towards the person to be recovered SHUT OFF THE MOTOR and position
yourself (in a PFD) to effect the recovery. Hopefully by this time the person
in the water has a PFD on. That's important because it becomes a nice handle.
Getting the person back into the boat can be a little difficult. The lowest
part of the boat to the water is the stern. Slid the person along the boat to
that position and grab the lowest portion of the PFD or under the arms and lift
the person into the boat.
Stuck, Alone and
There you sit, out of gas or maybe
your engine just stopped running ("When was the last time I checked those
sparkplugs?") The reason at this point is academic.... your stuck!
Looking around it seems you stayed
out later than the rest of the boaters. No help is nearby. The reality of the
situation sets in....You may be out there all night!
Question: Is there anyone who
knows you are on the water? Does anyone know where you are boating?
So.. if you do not return by a
certain time, will there be an alarm going off? Nautical Safety Books call
it "Filing a Float Plan" Simply stated, tell a loved one or neighbor. Someone
who will miss you if you are a few hours late. It is a good idea to write the
information down. Besides recording when and where you plan to boat, include a
description of your boat and registration number. It could make a difference
between an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous night and being a little late
This page is
provided to our Members as Safety
Guide Tips. It is not
intended to be all-inclusive nor comprehensive enough to be your only source of
safety rules. As a
boat owner it is your responsibility to comply with your specific state
regulations pertaining to boating safety. These regulations vary from state to
state . To insure compliance contact your State Boating Law Administrator or
local Coast Guard Auxiliary unit.
To help you in
obtaining all the facts and regulations specific to your state we provide the
BOATING LAW ADMINISTRATORS
AVYC encourages you to
write or call for information!
Top of Page