Please select your home edition
Edition
Maritimo 2023 S600 LEADERBOARD

What's different about fall boating? 3 on-water safety tips

by BoatUS 22 Sep 2023 12:42 PDT
Fall is a great time to increase your boating safety precautions, as waters have cooled and there are fewer potential good Samaritans – fellow boaters – to potentially render assistance © Ranger Boats

For some boaters, fall is the best time for boating. Summer's steamy days have surrendered to more comfortable temperatures, angling improves, and winds are stronger for sailing.

It's also time to embrace extra boating safety efforts for the season and look ahead to how you're going to store your boat this winter. The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has three boating safety tips to consider, as well as some test results on the four main types of winter boat covers.

  1. Take safety seriously. If you ask the U.S. Coast Guard about boating safety and drowning, they'll tell you that three of every four boaters who drowned in 2022 were using vessels less than 21 feet in length at the time (when boat length was known in the accident statistics). The BoatUS Foundation says that small boats in particular are more susceptible to the effects of stormy weather. During leaf-peeping season there's also more solo boat operation, which means it's wise to wear a life jacket and file a float plan so someone can raise the alarm if you fail to return. A self-boarding ladder, such as a length of multi-looped rope anchored to a cleat, should be easily grabbable from the water.

  2. Keep up with maintenance. Like many boaters, enjoying summer boating season was primary. Secondary was toiling over the things that broke, leaked or came apart. Ensuring your vessel remains reliable is important as there are fewer potential good Samaritan boaters - generally your closest rescuers - to provide help, if necessary.

  3. Use your engine cutoff switch. While all states require an engine cutoff switch (ECOS) use for PWCs, seven states and the U.S. Coast Guard also require ECOS devices for boats. The Coast Guard's rule requires ECOS wear when aboard vessels less than 26 feet traveling on plane or above displacement speed. The ECOS can be located at the helm of the boat or on the tiller or body of an outboard engine and typically connects to the boat's operator with a lanyard. Some ECOS devices eliminate the lanyard and rely on wireless proximity devices to shut down an engine if the operator goes overboard. Regardless, an accidental fall overboard could quickly turn dangerous. Make your ECOS your boating friend this fall.

Bonus:

Look for a winter boat cover. Have you ever considered using a reusable winter cover instead of shrinkwrap? The BoatUS Foundation recently put a number of common boat storage covers to the test. Some findings include: "Waterproof" and "water-resistant" covers are not the same; boats on rack storage may have no other choice than shrinkwrap due to safety reasons; and ensuring all-winter-long survival of any type of boat cover includes making sure the cover is well-supported and adding padding to a boat's hard edges and tops of all cover support poles. The full report, Foundation Findings #60: What You Need to Know About Boat Covers for Winter Storage, can help boaters fairly evaluate reusable, more environmentally friendly options.

Related Articles

Are boaters doing better when it comes to safety?
Just-released U.S. Coast Guard stats show decrease in fatalities, accidents, but problems persist The recently released U.S. Coast Guard 2023 Recreational Boating Statistics shows some good news on the boating safety front, with fatalities falling by 11.3% to 564 from 636 in 2022. Posted on 15 Jun
BoatUS Foundation opens Grant Program
For $7.5M effort to remove ADVs from nation's waterways From June 10-August 12, organizations are invited to apply for grant funding to clean up their local waterways Posted on 10 Jun
‘Extremely active' 2024 hurricane season expected
BoatUS helps boaters prepare Colorado State University's (CSU) Tropical Weather and Climate researchers, long known for their annual hurricane forecasts, are calling for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season to be "extremely active". Posted on 30 May
Boating season begins on Lake Texoma
Prepare with affordable 3-hour powerboat training courses It's boating season on Lake Texoma, and as boaters return for a summer of fun on the water, are they ready? It's important for every boat operator to be confident behind the helm. Posted on 25 May
BoatUS Spring Commissioning Checklist
Be sure to follow all manufacturer recommendations for your specific boat, engine and accessories The recreational boat owner's advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), has help for all types of boat owners with its highly popular Spring Commissioning Checklist. Posted on 3 May
7 practical boating tips for a safe, fun summer
Ahead of National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24 How can you make your summer on the water a safe one? With National Safe Boating Week coming up May 18-24, the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water offers seven practical tips to keep you boating safely all summer long. Posted on 1 May
Affordable 3-hour powerboat training courses
TowBoatUS Jordan Lake, N.C. make it easy to boost confidence behind the helm If you've always wanted to try boating, or you're a safe boat operator with a desire to grow your powerboat-handling skills or give yourself a boost of confidence behind the helm, now is your chance. Posted on 24 Apr
BoatUS offers for Earth Day
Does your boat 'say' what it's supposed to? Every new boat comes adorned with a plethora of warning labels for just about everything from obvious hazards to what a tow pylon should be used for. Posted on 17 Apr
Boating season begins on Lake Hartwell
TowBoatUS Lake Hartwell and BoatUS Foundation make it easy to improve boat-handling skills Springtime on Lake Hartwell means recreational boats begin to make their annual migration from winter hibernation on the hard to launching into the lake, bringing to mind the importance for every boat operator to be confident behind the helm Posted on 12 Apr
Free online course meets Brianna's Law Requirement
Boating Safety Course can help state residents meet mandatory boating safety education deadline Brianna's Law was named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 boating accident. Posted on 19 Mar
Maritimo 2023 S-Series FOOTER