Boating Tips 3
- Don't trust other boats. Boating in a busy lake is like driving on a busy parking lot. A few drivers don't seem to have a clue about what's going on around them. So stay vigilant. If you have a high performance boat, be especially careful when approaching other boats, since many drivers panic when they see a fast boat or turn without considering the distances covered by a faster boat. In general, it's best to slow down and keep a large distance from other traffic.
- Always mind the weather and seek shelter if something is coming. In Manitoba, it doesn't take long for the weather to turn. The best place for your boat is on a trailer or boat lift when this happens, especially if you don't have a safe place to park it on the shoreline. Remember, other boats pulled up on shore will swing and bang into your boat or vice versa if parked too close. Pulling the boat out temporarily while a thunderstorm passes is worthwhile, even if you have to suffer through a few false alarms each summer. It could save you from a submerged battery or engine, water in the gas or gouges on the side of yours or someone else's boat.
- Water Sports Considerations
- Personal watercraft such as jet skis turn unpredictably. Stay well clear of them.
- When towing people on inflatable tubes or water-toys, stay away from stationary objects. Once a tube planes outside of the wake on a corner, it may glide without any steering control by its occupant. The driver must never forget this and the person in the tube should always be prepared for the worst. If you're the person in the tube, always anticipate where you're going and get off well ahead of time if you don't like what you see. The water is a lot softer than a rock, marker or a dock.
- When approaching your fallen waterskier, approach with driver's side so you can always see him/her. It makes for better communication, too. Take wind and currents into account to make a safe pass. For safety sake, always avoid backing up toward anyone near the boat in the water. It is the driver's responsibility to keep people clear of the boat and the propeller.
- Always use a spotter when towing people behind the boat. A fallen skier is a "sitting duck" out there, and needs to have his/her boat return immediately for protection from other boats and in case of a serious injury. Drowning can occur with only a few tablespoons of water in the lungs. So, if you're the driver and spotter, how are you going to properly conduct both jobs at once? You must have a spotter - it's the law. Attending a life-saving and safety course is also a great idea for all boaters.
- Fallen skiers can use a ski to attract a boat driver's attention. If you're a fallen skier and your boat has abandoned you, hold a ski straight up out of the water and move it around a lot if you're afraid an approaching boat doesn't see you. The flashier the ski, the better! Also, get a new driver and spotter.
...continued on Boating Tips 4: fuel, airplanes & boat operations.
These tips are only general guidelines. Safety under the circumstances of operation is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the boat operator. Please be in control at all times and review all the operator/maintenance manuals for your equipment.