A Course for Safe Boating
GENERAL RULES: OPERATING
To operate a boat safely, the owner and operator should know what the vessel
can do, as well as the general rules for operating boats. The first part of
this section presents information that applies to many forms of boating. The
second part of the section covers more specific information for water skiing,
sailing and paddling.
Before Leaving the Dock
Check the predicted weather and water conditions. Avoid boating in heavy
winds, lightning storms, hard rain and thick fog. Make sure the predicted
conditions match your boating skills and equipment. Take a portable radio with
you to receive updated weather forecasts.
Find out about local hazards by talking to marina operators, other boaters
and marine law officers. They can keep you from running aground or hitting
to see if the boat’s lights and horn work properly.
all necessary safety equipment.
that you have a backup power source and bailing equipment. A
backup power source may include paddles, oars or a backup engine.
to see that a Coast Guard-approved life jacket is on board for every
to see that all gear is stowed in its proper place.
the capacity plate for the maximum number of people, maximum
weight capacity, and maximum horsepower recommended for the boat. The
capacity plate is located near the operator’s seat. Make sure you don’t put
more people or weight on board than it says on the plate. An overloaded
boat is difficult to control.
the overall condition of the boat, including the engine, hull and
that all passengers know where life jackets and safety equipment are
stored. You should show passengers how to use all the equipment.
to make sure your passengers know what to do in case of an
emergency. Show them if they don’t know.
HOW MANY PASSENGERS?
If the vessel or PWC no longer has a
capacity plate, the operator should
check the owners’ manual and state
laws to know how many passengers
can safely be loaded onto the craft.
The person-capacity of a boat can
be calculated by multiplying the
boat length by the boat width, and
dividing the answer by 15.
Length x Width
The length of a motorboat is mea
sured from end-to-end along the
centerline on the out-side of the
hull. The measurement does not
include outboard motors, brackets, or
other attachments, such as a swim
mer’s ladder. Boat length and width
are measured in feet and fractional
answers are rounded
next number of persons.
If a boat is 16 ft. long and 6 ft. wide,
how many passengers can it carry?