Ten Tips to Keep You Safe on the Water

Over the 2022 Memorial Day weekend, Sea Tow assisted almost 30 percent more boaters than during the 2021 Memorial Day weekend.

This past holiday weekend, more than half of Sea Tow assists were towing requests, 11 percent were ungroundings, 9 percent were fuel delivery, almost 10 percent were battery jumps and the remaining calls were for dock-to-dock tows, oil or parts delivery, disentanglements, and salvage and recovery efforts.

To help boaters stay safe this summer, Sea Tow shared 10 tips boaters should consider before heading out on the water.

  1. Have a checklist. Before leaving the dock, have a pre-departure checklist to review all critical systems (engine check, battery levels, fuel levels, etc.).
  2. Don’t rely solely on the fuel gauge. Boaters should keep a fuel log, so they know how much fuel their boat uses, when they last filled up, how many hours the boat has run, and how much fuel is left.
  3. Follow the rule of thirds. Be sure to have enough fuel to allow for: 1/3 of fuel to head to the destination, 1/3 of fuel to head back to the dock and 1/3 of fuel “just in case.”
  4. Check the charts. Review the intended voyage plan and be aware of sandbars, shallow areas, channel and buoy locations, etc. so you don’t run aground, and there are no other surprises.
  5. Carry extra lines and fenders. Both are needed when rafting up with friends or when tying up at a waterfront restaurant.
  6. Safety first. Boaters should inform passengers of the boat safety rules such as the location of life jackets and remaining seated while the boat is underway.
  7. Keep two anchors aboard. You never know when one might get away, so always have a spare and make sure it’s the appropriate size for the boat and bottom conditions.
  8. When in doubt, slow down or stop. Trying to figure things out while underway can lead to collisions or groundings.
  9. Be courteous. Boaters should always watch their wake when fellow boaters pass by. Be a good neighbor and be friendly!
  10. Always have a backup plan. It’s good to have an on-water assistance membership. If anything, it gives peace-of-mind that if something goes wrong, someone is standing by to come help.

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