Keep Marine Boating Safe For Everyone
Owning a boat and operating it on the water does not necessarily a mariner make, but learning the safe and courteous ways to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, marine boating should be the goal of all boaters. It is no secret that marine boating is not a cheap hobby, yet many people tend to abuse the opportunity and make an excursion to the water a trial for others.
Similar to driving your vehicle on the roadways, operating your boat on the water has rules and regulations that can make the marine boating experience safe and fun for everyone. Additionally similar to being on the roadways there are a few who challenge the rules and create hazards for the majority of safe boaters. Cruising along the lake for even a short time you will find a few who believe the rules of the water do not apply to them.
Unfortunately, there is no licensing exam for new boaters to know that everyone on the water knows and rules of the water and that their crafts meet minimum safety requirements. Although marine boating insurance is available for just about everyone, and typically required if there is a lien on the craft, not everyone carries it. Your investment could end up at the bottom of the water due to someone's negligence and it can takes years to recoup your loss.
Law Enforcement Lacking On Many Waterways
Despite their best efforts, enforcing laws on the waterways often is done by chance as unlike roadways, marine boating does not have designated driving lanes and stopping a boat on the water can be just as hard as an open-field tackle in football. Licensing criteria for the boat itself, does not cover the qualifications of the operator.
Budgetary constraints also put pressure on enforcement of water sports involving marine boating in many states, with on the surface enforcement typically relegated to chance encounters of persons involved in marine boating while under the influence or a failure to have the proper type and quantity of safety devices, such as life preservers.
Even though your boat may have performed flawlessly the last time you had it on the water, a pre-use safety check should be conducted before putting into the water each and every time, as well as before heading away from shore. There have been times in marine boating when cables comes loose or a drain plug springs a leak and, like your vehicle, it seldom happens while sitting on the trailer. If a cable looks worn, replace it before leaving land.