This blog post is the second installment of a two-part series on common questions people have about boating. The remaining five questions will cover boating questions from a safety perspective.
When choosing a boat, the most important thing to focus on is its purpose. For example, a yacht is suitable for cross-country sailing. However, as a dinghy, even a modern one is suitable for fishing. Boats come in various sizes, so knowing their particular use is vital to operating them.
According to Statista, 3,191 injuries and 767 deaths occurred in boating accidents in 2020. Hence, to get a boating license, a person has to take the boating course created by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). This course covers the following components:
- System Policy
- Boat Crew Qualification Tasks
- The Training and Qualification Process
- Boat Crew Currency Maintenance
- Program Manager Roles and Responsibilities
- Documentation Requirements
In Part 1 of this blog, we talked about boating basics and how the age limit for operating a boat differs from state to state. Now, we will cover a different topic. Here are five more questions to continue from where we left off:
Q6. What Type of Life Jacket Do I Need?
The Federal Law states that you should have a life jacket for everyone on board. The jackets must fit the individuals, which means that if you have a child on board, you should have a small jacket too. If your boat is longer than 16 ft., you should have other safety equipment, too, such as a flotation device, like life rings and boat cushions. Children under six years old should wear a life jacket throughout the sail. The following list mentions different types of life jackets and what they are best for:
Type I: Offshore Life Jacket
- For all types of waters, where rescue might be delayed.
Type II: Near-Shore Buoyant Vest
- For calm, inland waters.
Type III: Floatation Aid:
- For calm, inland waters.
Type IV: Device
- All waters, where you are immediately rescued.
Type V: Special Use Device
- For specific activities. You will find the list of approved conditions on its label.
Q7. How to Report a Boating Accident?
A boating accident should be reported to The Division of Law Enforcement. It’s important to inform the authorities immediately so they can take the appropriate actions by calling the coast guard.
Q8. What Type of Visual Distress Signals (VSDs) Should I Have?
VSDs for night and day differ based on their level of visibility. Here are a few combinations you can have onboard:
- 3 handheld red flares
- 2 parachute flares and 1 handheld red flare
- 3 handheld orange smoke distress signals and 1 electric distress light
- 1 electric distress light, 2 floating orange smoke signals, and 1 handheld orange smoke signal
Q9. What Type of Identification Should I Have on Me While Boating?
Apart from your boating license, you also need to have other identification required by the state laws. Having these on you will help the coast guard notify your loved ones if you get into an accident.
Q10. Can the Authority Examine My Boat?
Yes. A Vessel Examiner might give you a Vessel Safety Check. Afterward, they will give you an evaluation copy, which you can show to other coats guards. You can then display a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) decal, which denotes the safety of your vehicle. However, keep in mind that this does not excuse you from law enforcement inspections.
So, were you able to answer these questions correctly? While boating rules and regulations seldom change, you should still regularly check the right websites for any information.
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