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Stay Safe and Legal on the Water

Stay Safe and Legal on the Water

Aahhhaaa, spring time is finally here! If you are anything like me, you are sprucing up the landscaping, getting the yard tools and mower ready, planting flowers, but most importantly, getting the boat or jet ski ready for the inaugural boat ride of the season. Maybe you are new to boating and just getting your feet wet, or a seasoned sea captain, looking at that boat upgrade that you have always wanted, regardless, the one thing you can’t forget about are those safety checklists.

There are a few things that you will need to check to make sure your boat is sea worthy before taking it out this season. First and foremost, is your boat registration up to date and are the numbers on your boat correct and legible? Check your registration and be sure to renew with your local Department of Motor Vehicles. If you need to refresh your boat numbers, or you have a quirky boat name, or a not so quirky name for you boat… head on over to While visiting, you can  order decals for both your boat name and hailing port, and your Coast Guard compliant numbers in the color and size of your choice.

Once your boat registration is up to date, your boat number decals are installed, you are ready to go right? Not so fast, there are a few other very important steps to take before heading out on the water!

  1. Don’t get caught in a storm. Simply checking the forecast before heading out is so important! I learned this lesson the hard way when I beached my boat on Lake Michigan due to a wind change that made 8 ft waves. My little runabout wasn’t ready for that kind of ride.
  2. Don’t be an unknown, let someone know where you are putting in and let them know the time you expect to be off the water.
  3. Be sure to identify any non-swimmers first, and make sure they are wearing a life preserver while on the water, because you don’t want to be responsible for a drowning if the worst happens.
  4. Name your Skipper before leaving the boat ramp or dock in case you need someone to take the helm in an emergency.
  5. Before leaving the ramp or dock; be sure everyone knows where to find a life jacket, throwable floatation device, the horn, a fire extinguisher, flares, and be sure your navigation lights are working. Also make sure you have a life jacket for everyone in the appropriate size.
  6. While on the water, be sure to drink responsibly, check the weather and fuel level occasionally, know your location and stay within marked channels.
  7. Lastly, if you are a fisherman, don’t forget your bait, and be sure to HAVE A GREAT SUMMER ENJOYING YOUR BOAT!
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