A Course for Safe Boating
For more information about weather
terminology and conditions, visitwww.dbw.ca.gov/
For assistance selecting launch
locations in California, see
The operator of a boat with an enclosed engine compartment should run the
blower for at least four minutes before boarding passengers.
When boarding a small boat, passengers should step to the middle of the
boat and sit down immediately.
Keep the mooring lines secured to the dock while passengers are climbing
aboard the boat.
If the boat is small, be sure every person sits down, and the gear is stowed
so that the boat is balanced.
to see that you have enough distance (freeboard) between the water-
line and the gunwale. If not, your boat is overloaded.
the direction of the wind and current.
the area to make sure it is clear of other traffic. Proceed slowly to
reduce the wake and observe wake-free zones (5 mph).
When Under Way
the lines. Trailing lines in the water can foul the propeller and
damage the engine.
the speed. Always travel at a slow speed (5 mph.) when you’re close
to swimmers, docks, piers or crowded boat ramp areas.
navigation rules and signs.
both sides and aft before turning.
meters and gauges frequently while underway.
the weather, winds and tides. A good way to get weather reports is
to use a marine band radio. Detailed information can also be obtained by
tuning to local radio stations or the National Weather Radio broadcasts on
frequencies of 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz
in areas where available or by consulting local news sources.
charts for the local area for underwater objects, shoals, shipping
lanes and other hazards.
for local hazards such as dams, bridges, power lines, changing tides
and low or high seasonal water.
that everyone is properly seated and that the boat is balanced. It’s not
safe to have passengers riding on the bow, gunwales or transom of a boat.
to make sure you reduce your wake. You are responsible for any
damage to other boats and property caused by your boat’s wake.
Courtesy is essential for safe boat
operation, and a major way to
Here are some examples:
Know the right-of-way rules and
respect the right-of-way of others.
Lower your speed to reduce your
wake around others.
Do not spray other boats, water
skiers or bathers with your wake.
Keep a safe distance from docks,
bathers and fishing boats.