Boat Operator Responsibility
It is the skipper’s responsibility, as operator, to take charge of his/her own proficiency by taking a boating safety course. The operator should also have a constant awareness of weather, water and other environmental conditions to ensure the safety of his crew and his passengers.
Operators of recreational vessels should continue to invest in their own education beyond the boating basics. You should continue to learn to be a better boater - no matter how much boating experience you have, there's always more to learn.
Prior to departure, you should review emergency equipment and procedures including:
- Loading and movement of passengers and gear
- Importance of maintaining a proper lookout
- Obeying no-wake or limited-wake zones (wake is defined as the waves left behind as your boat moves through the water)
- Controlling your waste
- Controlling boat noise
- Controlling boat speed
- Refraining from careless, reckless, or negligent operations
- Alcohol and controlled substances
- Observing and operating in accordance with homeland security measures
Three quarters of all reported boating accidents and half of all fatalities involve operator controllable factors.
Inform your crew and passengers of the rules of safe boating and try to insure that at least one other person aboard is capable of operating the vessel in the event of an emergency.
You should explain and/or demonstrate the following during loading of passengers and gear:
- Always have one hand for the boat and the other for yourself. Never walk around on a boat without holding on.
- Enter a small boat by stepping into the center.
- Hand equipment into the boat, do not try to carry it aboard as you enter.
- Distribute the load evenly fore and aft and from side to side.
- Keep the weight of everything (passengers and equipment) as low in the boat as possible.
- Check the boat's capacity plate.
- Don’t overload the boat; it will reduce stability and make capsizing more likely.
Everyone who uses or enjoys the waterways of our country, whether boating, walking along the shoreline or actually living on the water’s edge has the same rights to enjoy the tranquillity of the water. Boaters should respect the rights of others who live or play on the shoreline. You should not disturb private property owners by docking on their land. You should be careful about the amount of wake that you are leaving when operating close to shore. You are responsible for any damage you cause with your wake. Control your speed and obey speed limit signs.
Because sound carries farther over water than over land, especially at night, you should keep voices, music and other noises to a minimum if anchored near a waterfront property.