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Safe Sailing on Labor Day Weekend

The Safe Boating Campaign sent us the following important safety tips to share with our readers for a successful Labor Day Weekend on the water:

  1. Take a boating safety course. Gain valuable knowledge and on-water experience in a boating safety course with many options for novice to experienced boaters.
  2. Check equipment. Schedule a free vessel safety check with local US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working and in good condition.
  3. Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment on board.
  4. Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone is wearing a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  5. Use an engine cutoff device. An engine cutoff device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
  6. Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during the excursion.
  7. Know what’s going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2017 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  8. Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area and local boating speed zones; always travel at a safe speed.
  9. Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities. Always designate a sober skipper.
  10. Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones, EPIRB or personal locator beacon, and VHF radios can all be important devices in an emergency.
This J/105 was nearly cut in half when it was hit by a 35-ft powerboat traveling at high speed on Chesapeake Bay on a clear day. Some combination of numbers 7 and 8 may have been the cause. Fortunately (and amazingly) there were no major injuries in this collision.

© 2018 M. Ashley Love

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"I just have to say I’m sorry. My participation in the Golden Globe Race has suddenly come to an end," wrote Norwegian skipper Are Wiig following a capsize and dismasting on Monday, according to a Golden Globe press release.