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Boating Safety


Boating Safety - Boat Safe Out There!
Don't let your boating trip turn into a tragedy. Here are safe boating links and other safety information.

Boating Safety Links - Check out these safety links!

Boating Safety Guide from BoatUS Foundation. 7 study guides including: Boat Mtce & Winterization; Boating Safety Equipment; Trip Planning and Prep; The Environment; Navigations & Rules of the Road; Emergency Prep and Boating Activities.

"Just the facts Ma'am."  Boating can be great fun, but don't let your weekend outing turn into a tragedy.  Most fatal boating accidents involve people who suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves in the water without a life jacket.

About 50% of all boating fatalities occur:

    - On lakes, ponds and reservoirs and not on navigable waterways,
    - On weekend afternoons,
    - In calm weather,
    - In full daylight,
    - In boats 12-16 feet long, 
    - 2/3 involved in fatal boating accidents have had no training in boat handling and safety,
    - Are 26-50 years of age,
    - 87% do not wear lifejackets,
    - A large percentage have been drinking,
    - Most think of themselves as "swimmers"!


Hypothermia is a major killer in aquatic mishaps.  Hypothermia is a reduction in the body's core temperature below where normal biological functions can occur.  Your body loses heat more rapidly than it can replenish it.  It can kill you at temperatures well above freezing.  It can occur at any time of the year in strong winds, especially if your clothing is wet, but occurs most rapidly when the body is in cold water.  It is a serious life threatening condition.  If you suspect hypothermia seek prompt and competent medical attention.

The colder the water the more rapidly hypothermia occurs.  It can occur in water as warm as 80 degrees if you are exposed to it for a long enough time.  The shivering you may experience in mild cases of hypothermia is one means the body has to keep itself warm.  I imagine that most people have experienced some type of mild hypothermia while swimming for long periods.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends you use the 50-50 rule to emphasize how rapidly hypothermia can occur.  You have a 50-50 chance to swim 50 yards in water at 50 degrees.  Another rule is that a 50 year old person has a 50-50 chance of surviving 50 minutes in 50 degree water.

Watch for initial signs of hypothermia such as goose bumps and shivering.   Shivering may slow down or stop as hypothermia increases.  Speech becomes slurred and incoherent, you become lethargic and uncoordinated.  Respiration becomes shallow and erratic.

    - Can occur in a strong wind,
    - Occurs more rapidly in women than men and most rapidly in children,
    - Occurs more rapidly when you are wet than dry,
    - Occurs more rapidly when you are immersed in water, and
    - Occurs more rapidly swimming or floating without a life jacket.

Boating Safety Classes:

If you have not taken a boating safety class, you need to consider it soon.  There are rules of the water just like there are rules of the road.  The Skipper is responsible for the boat and the passengers safety, as well as damage to other boats a nd facilities.  You can sign up for classes through the Oregon Boater
Education Card Online
or the US Power Squadrons.  They have courses all over the country.  The courses are taught with learning in mind, by experienced people.  Most insurance companies will give you a break on your insurance if you have completed a course.  It is well worth your time.

Light Requirements:

All vessels must show required running lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.  These requirements vary depending on vessel length and propulsion type. In most cases the requirements are the same for both inland and international rules.

An anchor light is an all around white light that is visible for two miles.    Vessels less than 7 meters (23 feet) are not required to show anchor lights unless anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage or where other vessels normally navigate.

Failure to keep a proper lookout is a major cause of accidents and is required by Oregon law and Federal Navigation Rules.

Always operate your boat so it will not endanger others.  Reduce speed when speed limits are posted or when passing marinas, fishing areas, swimming areas or congested areas.  Remember, Oregon maximum speed within 200 feet of a ramp, marina or moorage with more than 6 or more vessels or swimming area is 5 MPH slow no wake.

Particularly hazardous a condition (for which you may be fined) are considered as:
    Not enough PFD or fire extinguishers.
    Overloading (check you capacity plate information)
    Failure to display required navigation lights
    Fuel leakage
    Fuel accumulation (other than fuel tanks)
    Failure to meet ventilation requirements
    Failure to meet carburetor backfire flame requirements
    Excessive leakage or accumulation of water in the bilge.

Some waterways limit boat size and use.  Be sure to check local regulations before departing, or obtain a copy of Oregon Boating Regulations.  

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