Assemblyman Joseph Saladino (Massapequa) asks all recreational boaters to think “Safety First” before and during any trip on the water. With proper planning and attention to the rules of safety, family boating trips can be among your favorite summer memories.
“While much of this information sounds like good old common sense, it is so easy to overlook the basics. It is a shame to be caught in a tragedy which could have been avoided by following the safety rules,” said Assemblyman Saladino. “As a lifelong boater who has rescued the victim of a boating mishap, I want all of our residents to enjoy every aspect of marine recreation and make it home safely to share stories of a fun day on the water.”
The first step in preparation for any boating experience is to register and take a boating or personal watercraft certification class. In order to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in New York state, you must hold a safety certificate if:
- You operate a personal watercraft, regardless of your age.
- You wish to operate a motorboat (including personal watercraft) and you are at least 10 years old and less than 18 years old.
- If you are under 10 years old you may operate a motorboat (non-PWC) only if someone over 18 or someone between the ages of 10 and 18 who holds a safety certificate, is on board with you. Anyone may operate a personal watercraft if someone at least 18 years old is riding on the craft and they hold a safety certificate.
Information regarding boating safety classes in Nassau or Suffolk County is available at the Safe Boating New York Web site at www.safeboatingnewyork.com or the New York State Parks site at www.nysparks.state.ny.us.
When you are preparing for a day on the water, you and your passengers should review some basic steps to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable. Prior to leaving the dock, you should:
- Prepare yourself with swimming and boating skills. Explain to your passengers that if they fall in, avoid panic and if the vessel begins to sink, stay with the boat.
- Wear a comfortable and properly fitted life jacket, a legal must for children under the age of 12. Make certain that there is a certified life jacket for each person aboard. Young children may not wear an adult life jacket.
- Install and maintain a properly working fire extinguisher in a safe readily accessible location – not next to or near the engine.
- Watch and listen to weather reports for updates on local conditions and impending storms and high winds.
- Communicate your trip itinerary prior to leaving the dock with a responsible adult.
- Keep a nautical chart on board which will include all of the waters you will be navigating. Before departing, study the chart, especially the depth, to avoid running aground.
- Never operate a boat while or after drinking alcohol.
- Remember to keep all boat maintenance chemical, fuels and lubricants in their original containers.
- List CPR instructions and local emergency numbers on the boat.
- Maintain constant supervision of children, regardless of their swimming abilities or use of life jackets. Do not seat children on the bow of your boat when underway.
- Do not swim or wade near a boat’s exhaust, sit on the swim platform when the engine is running, or hold onto the deck while the boat is moving.
- Learn what comprises the necessary and legal components of Coast Guard mandated equipment for your vessel and make certain, with a checklist, that you have this equipment on board and in proper working condition.
- Never operate a vessel at night without proper lights. More collisions are due to running at night without lights or operation without proper training than any other reasons.
All boat owners can have their vessel inspected or enroll in boating education courses by contacting the Coast Guard Auxiliary at http://nws.cgaux.org. The caring volunteers of this organization act to make sure that you make it safely back to shore.