Surface carefully to avoid coming up under a
boat or some other object. If visibility is poor,
extend one or both hands above your head to
ward off any object.
If you lose visual contact with your buddy, listen
for the sound of escaping bubbles from the other
scuba equipment. If unable to locate your buddy,
pound on your cylinder to attract attention. If this
fails, surface, locate your buddy, and then
Check your cylinder pressure and equipment
before a second dive.
Know how to use an alternate air source and a
low-pressure buoyancy compensation inflation
The purchase of a nautical-type or sailors hat does
not suddenly cloak a person in boating experience. The
overwhelming majority of boat operators involved in
fatal accidents have never taken a safe boating course.
Before you go boating, take a safe boating course. For
more information on the boat course, call the Coast
Guard Boating Course hot line at 1-800-336-BOAT.
About 50 percent of all boating mishaps resulting in
serious injuries involve alcohol. Operating a boat while
intoxicated, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10
percent or more, carries a $1,000 civil penalty. It carries
a criminal penalty of up to $5,000, 1 year in jail, or both.
Collisions or people falling overboard causes most
boating injuries. If you fall or are accidentally thrown
into the water, a personal flotation device (PFD) can
save your life. U.S. Coast Guard studies show that up to
85 percent of all boating deaths could have been
prevented if the victims had been wearing a PFD.
Always wear a PFD when boating. Even though it isnt
a Navy regulation, we strongly urge you to wear a PFD
when you are in your own boat. However, in a watercraft
owned by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)
Department, the operator and any passengers must wear
a PFD approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Match your motor to your boat. If you use a motor,
have someone check it before your first boat trip of the
season. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher aboard,
along with tools and equipment to make minor motor
adjustments or repairs. Make sure you have enough fuel
before starting out. NEVER refuel with the motor
Do not go out in a small boat unless you are
thoroughly familiar with the craft. Learn to handle your
boat by practicing near shore in shallow, smooth water.
Become familiar with the basic rules about right-of-
ways, channel markings, anchorages, and use of lights.
Leave a float plan with a friend before you set out.
Your plan should include the identification number of
your boat, who is with you, where you are going, when
you expect to return, and when to contact the Coast
Guard. Inspect your boat each time before you use it,
checking for leaks and other defects. Remove any water
that may be present on the deck to reduce the possibility
of slip hazards. Check weather conditions before you
leave home and while on the water. Storms come up in
a hurry. Learn to read cloud formations and other
weather signs. Never leave the dock without all required
Make sure you do not overload or improperly load
your boat. Counting the number of seats does not
indicate capacity. Overloading is dangerous and reduces
freeboard (the distance from the waterline to the edge of
the boat). Improper loading makes a boat unstable or
less maneuverable. Know the safe load capacity and
recommended horsepower for your boat. The best place
for the load is on the bottom and in the middle. Do not
allow passengers to sit or stand on the bow, stern, or
gunwales. In rough water, place the load, including
passengers, low to keep the boat stable sideways; place
the load away from the ends to give the bow and stern
Keep a small boat away from big boats, especially
at night. Speedboats and paddle-wheelers are especially
dangerous. Before large swells from a large boat reach
your small boat, head into them. Slow down so they will
slide under your boat from end to end.
TIPS IN CASE OF BOAT OR WEATHER
TROUBLE. What do you do in case of trouble? First
of all, dont panic. The following are a few boating tips
you should keep in mind:
If you get trapped on the water by a sudden
squall, point the bow into (toward) the wind.
Reduce speed or shorten the sail at once.
If you get caught in rough water, head the boat so
that it receives the waves at a 45-degree angle
either to the left or to right side of the bow. Do
not get crosswise,
Go slowly against a strong sea because speed can
bury the bow, allowing more water to come
aboard. Arrange your load to keep the bow up.