By Kara Dunn and Paul Focazio, New York Sea Grant
The 10-foot inflatable boat that is the New York Sea Grant Discover Clean & Safe Boating educational vessel for 2015 may be a small boat, but it carries a big message. The 10-foot inflatable boat is equipped with a propane engine and traveling to boat shows, events, and venues throughout Upstate New York with an exhibit educating the public about the gear needed and mandated for safe, environmentally-friendly, and legal boating on New York’s recreational waters.
New York Sea Grant offers the following top 10 tips for boaters in 2015:
- Learn about Suddenly In Command training so everyone aboard can be prepared to act calmly and properly in the event of an emergency on the water.
- Make sure all passengers are wearing a proper life jacket. A throwable floatation device is required onboard boats more than 16 feet long.
- Learn how to conduct an easy-to-do Clean, Drain, Dry inspection of your watercraft, trailer and gear to remove aquatic invasive species and debris each time you enter and leave new water.
- Check that all the safety features of your boat trailer are in proper working order.
- Check the number and expiration date/s of on board fire extinguisher/s and flares. Store flares and distress signals in dry compartment. The Suddenly In Command intro with New York Sea Grant and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary shows how to properly ignite and handle a flare.
- Use a fuel nozzle bib when fueling your boat and a bilge sock to keep marine fuel from spilling into the water.
- Make sure all vessel lights are working and flashlights have fresh batteries.
- Have a proper device on board to receive weather alerts.
- Check to be sure you have the proper navigational charts on board.
- Check that the boat horn, whistles, distress flag and other means of signaling an emergency distress are in working order.
A new component for the campaign in 2015 is a fun, but serious introduction to Suddenly In Command training for people who enjoy boating but do not know how to operate a boat or properly signal for help. New York Sea Grant and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 21 are partnering to instruct people on the boating basics they need to know in the event of an emergency on the water. Several marinas have requested the program for their sites once the 2015 boating season gets underway. br>
The campaign has educated more than half-a-million boaters, anglers, duck hunters, pontoon boat and paddle sports enthusiasts, deaf boaters, and, in 2014, New York first responders who handle water-related emergencies.
Since 2008, when New York Sea Grant developed the Discover Clean and Safe Boating campaign in partnership with the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York, the outreach effort has been recognized internationally as a model for partnering with the marine industry to educate the boating public. The Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York, Pirate’s Cove Marina in Clay, NY, Lehr Engines, and BoatersAdvantage.com are sponsoring the 2015 campaign.
For more information, contact New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White at 315-312-3042. New York Sea Grant offers additional boating safety resources at www.nyseagrant.org/marina.