April 27, 2021| Safety
By: Tom Flinn
This two-part “Small vessel safe boating tips” post will focus on safe boating basics (you can find part 2 HERE). These tips are particularly important for new boaters but also serve as great reminders for even the most seasoned skipper.
The captain of the ship is always responsible for the safety of all passengers, even before they step foot on board. Boarding procedures should be discussed beforehand, especially for novices. Below are 6 steps to follow:
These are general guidelines. The best approach, particularly for points of entry to the vessel, may change depending on the particular design of the vessel.
For deboarding, follow the same process.
Once aboard, always follow the captain’s instructions on where to sit, as proper weight distribution is critical to a safe trip on the water. Passenger weight should be distributed evenly to prevent listing from side to side and to keep the bow and stern from sitting too low, impairing efficient operation and causing a possible loss of control. Heavy items like anchors and coolers must be stowed as low and as close to the center line as possible, to minimize the risk of roll-over, especially in rough water.
This short video from Bridge Marina provides an excellent overview of safe seating and weight distribution.
Enjoy your day on the water and be safe!
This post is part of our 2021 Spring Safety Series. Tom Flinn is a founding member of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees and during his tenure has served as a liaison to the New Jersey State Police and the Morris County Sheriff's Office.