A recent boat crash points out very clearly that it pays to pay attention.

One of the key elements of safe boating is being aware your surroundings. Particularly at night, it is important to keep  your head on a swivel, watching for running lights, noting other boats, their direction and their expected course in relationship to your own.


A recent boat crash points out very clearly that it pays to pay attention.
One of the key elements of safe boating is being aware your surroundings. Particularly at night, it is important to keep  your head on a swivel, watching for running lights, noting other boats, their direction and their expected course in relationship to your own.

If you have crew in the boat, put someone besides the captain on watch at night. Maintain a conversation about passing boats and keep track of where you are on the lake.

The after-dark speed limit of 30 miles an hour is a restriction, not a requirement. Think about how much of a hurry you are in to run into something and slow down, enjoy the ride and be safe.
All too often even sober captains get caught up in the fun and sun and fail to keep a proper watch. Out on the lake in broad daylight you may feel like everything is ok.

And it is, until a kid on a PWC jumps out from in front of the boat to your right.
Or the captain of the boat in front of you responds to his crew’s shouts to turn into a waterfront restaurant by turning into you. Anyone who spends any time at all on this lake knows this kind of event is the rule rather than the exception.

If you are at the wheel, you are responsible. If you don’t believe it, ask the two guys who piled into each other head-on in the middle of the lake and now both face charges for drinking and crashing.

It is not the water patrolman’s job to figure out who is at fault. The judge will do that. If something untoward happens and you’ve been drinking, you are going to jail. Period.

Not every accident is avoidable, no matter how responsible a captain you are. But the odds go up if you treat driving the boat seriously, keep an eye out and get the crew involved in watching out, especially at night.
Have fun out there. Make memories, not stories you have to recount to your lawyer and be sure to buckle up.  
If you could bottle the joy a five year old feels as she leaps off the end of the dock, it would sell by the case.
The sense of accomplishment a kid feels the first time the skis stay under him is priceless. The adventure of yanking a bass out of the water can make Wii seem a little pale for a youngster.
At the lake, this kind of fun occurs every day.

Sadly, some days, these scenes of sunny anticipation turn dark because an adult didn’t pay enough attention to safety.

It is the law that kids seven and under must wear a lifejacket on boats. Common sense goes far beyond that law.

On the waterfront, danger starts at the back door. The cases of kids who wandered down to the water and drowned would break a heart of stone.

From the back deck to the dock and onto the boat, the danger persists for kids who just want to have fun.
It just takes a minute to put a lifejacket on a five year old, it only takes an instant to sink without one.
While we get ready to enjoy this summer, we need to focus on making sure the kids see the next one.