From the Massachusetts Environmental Police:
4 Tips for Safer Boating this Season
1. Take a Massachusetts Environmental Police Boating Safety Course: The United States Coast Guard reports that over 80-percent of boating fatalities occur on vessels where the operator did not have boating safety instruction. The Boating Safety Course offered by the Massachusetts Environmental Police is free, NASBLA approved, and accepted nationwide. Check out what classes are available near you: http://bit.ly/boatingcourselist.
2. Inspect and prep your life jackets: Pull your PFDs from winter storage and look them over. All lifejackets - both inflatable and non-inflatable - should be opened up, looked over, and inspected for signs of wear and/or malfunction. For inflatable PFD inspection tips, visit: http://bit.ly/ipfdinspection, for non-inflatable care, visit: http://bit.ly/pfdinspect. Once your PFDs are inspected and found to be in good condition, place them in a readily accessible place on your vessel. PFDs are required for all canoeists and kayakers from September 15 through May 15.
3. Leave a Float Plan (and charge your phone!): No one gets underway expecting to need help – but sometimes help is needed. Filing a float plan with someone, whether it be a friend, neighbor, or family member, provides critical information that emergency personnel can use to find you. Float plans aren’t just for big boats either – they are equally effective for a 10-foot kayak as they are for a 100-foot luxury yacht. Download a Float Plan form here and make sure you let someone know before you go: http://bit.ly/mepfloatplan.
4. Get a Vessel Safety Check…and don’t forget your registration!: Interested in having a qualified resource check your vessel and ensure you have the required safety equipment aboard? The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary provides Vessel Safety Checks at no charge, request one here:http://bit.ly/vesselcheck. And don’t forget that most vessels require registration, to find out more about vessel registration in Massachusetts, visit:https://www.mass.gov/boat-registration.