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Fall Boating Safety Tips from BoatUS Foundation

ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 22, 2013 – All over the country, fall is  in full swing and recreational boaters and anglers are trying to squeeze in  their last good day on the water. But when they do, boaters need to follow a  safety playbook appropriate for this time of year. That’s because boaters often  let their guard down when safety becomes an even greater challenge. What makes  fall boating safety so  different? The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water explains:

  • The  sun is in your face and the breeze may be warm, but below the keel the water  temperature has dropped. A simple fall overboard at this time of year can be a  big problem if you can’t get back into the boat. What is your plan to get back aboard,  especially if you’re boating solo? Wearing a life jacket can also buy you  critical time to get back in the boat.
  • You  need to let someone know where you’re going and what time you’ll be back.  That’s because there are significantly fewer boaters on the water at this time  of year to bail you out if there’s trouble. A float plan left with family or  friends is simple to do, and don’t forget to check back in upon your return.  Here’s an easy, sample float plan: BoatUS.com/seaworthy/floatplan.asp.
  • With  temperature fluctuations, fog takes only a short time to appear. If you’re  headed out on the open water, carrying a compass and chart should be a bare  minimum.
  • Check  your communications gear, including your VHF radio and all of its wired  connections. If it is a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF, have you connected  the radio to your GPS/chartplotter and have you gotten your MMSI number? If  not, rescuers won’t be able to find you quickly. BoatUS offers this service for  free at BoatUS.com/MMSI. Handheld VHFs should be fully charged before you go,  and remember that cell phone batteries don’t last as long when you’re using  fishing or charting apps.
  • Layer  up. It may be sunny when you head out, but a short rainsquall and temperature  drop with clouds in the afternoon can serve up a case of hypothermia pretty  quick. Be prepared for big swings in the weather.

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About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for  Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and  responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it  provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with  the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of  America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible  donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.

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