Did you know that boaters born after 1983 who have an engine greater than 15 horsepower must have a “Boaters Card”, earned by taking a 3-hour online course? The Nevada Department of Wildlife teamed up with Boat-Ed to offer this course which teaches motorized boaters how to safely utilize local reservoirs, lakes, and rivers. The course is not limited to motorized boaters, so even if you are a non-motorized low and slow boater, it may be wise to take the course too. Being informed can play an important role in the safety of all! Visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife website at ndow.org/boat to learn more.
Motor boats are super fun, but there are important safety considerations so that a day on the water doesn’t end poorly. First and foremost, always wear your life jacket. With today’s modern designs, life jackets do not have to be bulky and cumbersome; find one that fits you comfortably and you can wear all the time. A life jacket in the boat does you no good when you are in the water.
Next, be aware of the weight limits of your boat. Do not overload. The combined weight of motors, fuel, people, and gear all add up, so plan accordingly and be wise. More people may mean less gear, or vice versa, balance appropriately and pay attention to what your boat can safely carry.
With regard to fuel, the fuel rule of one-thirds is a good one to remember. Use one-third of your fuel to get to where you are going, use one-third for your return trip, and keep one-third in reserve in the event of an emergency. When refueling on the water is necessary, be safe. Remove all passengers, be highly aware of possible ignition sources, like cigarettes, and be sure to smell for fumes before re-starting your engine. Having a fire extinguisher nearby is also a good idea in the event of an unexpected fire. Also, be proactive and work to not get fuel in the water.
When the waters are busy with boaters and other water enthusiasts, be sure to be considerate of others and slow down. Follow the navigation rules of the water, recognizing that all boaters may not know the rules, so be prepared to quickly change your plan to avoid any collision. Being safe is not always about being right.
For more quick tips on responsible motor boating, visit:
Getting out on the water is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. Wear your life vest, plan ahead, apply sunscreen, drink water, and be aware. Fresh air and sunshine is a good for all of us!