Boating Safety & PFDs*
The leading cause of fatalities in boating accidents
is drowning. Therefore, assuring that your child knows how to swim and that he or she
knows how to select, put on, adjust and use personal floatation devices (PFDs) is
Always wear US Coast Guard approved PFDs. Each
approved PFD will have a U.S. Coast Guard label specifying the size of person it should be
used for. It is important that your PFD be properly sized and adjusted. If the PFD is not
the right size or is improperly adjusted, it will restrict swimming movements and may
even, if it is too large, be dangerous. A child could slip out of his/her PFD and it may
not perform in the way it was intended in regards to the wearer's body float position.
Remember, a personal floatation device cannot help you if you are not wearing it.
There are federal and state laws that require
certain equipment to be carried aboard boasts. This equipment may vary, depending on the
type of boat on which it is being used, e.g., canoe, sailboat, powerboat. Check with your
local authorities to determine which equipment is required for the type of boat you are
using. Be sure all the equipment on your boat is in good working order and that the
occupants of the boat know how to use it.
When a boat is operated on any waterway, certain rules must be followed. These are the
traffic rules and are similar to the rules that are followed while driving an automobile.
Their purpose is to prevent accidents. These rules can be complicated and you should
obtain a complete listing from the appropriate authorities in your area. The most basic
Motorboats must give right of way to manually
While your boat is moving, it is always necessary to know where other boats are around
Never overload your boat. There should be a capacity rating plate on your boat. This will
include information such as maximum size of motor that should be used, maximum number of
persons that should be carried, by weight, and maximum total weight carrying capacity of
Never overpower your boat. The boat is designed for certain sizes of motors. A
bigger-than-recommended size of motor can cause the boat to handle quite differently than
Never stand up in a boat or sit on the side with your legs or arms hanging over when the
boat is moving. You could fall overboard (or fall in the boat). Your arms or legs could be
injured by hitting something, or they could hit the water and pull you over the side.
Never operate a boat or tow water skiers near a swimming area. You may not see swimmers
and might hit them.
Get to shelter at the first sign of bad weather. A storm can overtake you very quickly.
The following organizations and websites provide
valuable information regarding boating safety and personal flotation devices (PFD):
The names of child PFD
manufacturers are available upon request from Ron Gilbert.
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