This time of year, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts alike begin to head back out on to the water in search of some of our swimming friends, or just to have a good time. As for myself, I’m in the same boat (no pun intended), but I would be remiss if I didn’t play the parental role here and say, “have fun, but remember safety.”
We often cringe when we see that Coast Guard boat coming around the corner, screaming on plane with blue lights flashing. But let’s remember, they’re people too, and they have a job to do like the rest of us. Besides protecting our shores from a multitude of different threats, they also ensure that boaters are stocked and ready to go in case a “not so fun” situation were to occur. Today, I’m going to help you be prepared so that if our good friends from the USCG do arrive, you’re set and ready to go. This will ensure your time and theirs is quick so that you can get back to enjoying yourself on the water, while they can keep ensuring our safety.
Below is a checklist I’ve borrowed from the USCG website of items you MUST CARRY, as stated by federal law. You should also check local and state laws for anything else you may be required to carry with you. The numbers next to each item are the page numbers in the PDF file that covers it more in depth. While this is not EVERYTHING you need to perform safely on the water, it covers all the necessities they may look for. I have also provided a link so that you can view the entire file they have provided us.
|State Registration (Certificate of Number) 5|
|State Numbering Display 6|
|Certificate of Documentation 6|
|Life Jackets: one for each person on board 9|
|Throwable Type IV Device 14|
|Visual Distress Signals 17|
|Fire Extinguisher (Fully Charged) 21|
|Proper Ventilation 23|
|Backfire Flame Control 25|
|Sound Producing Device 25|
|Navigation Lights 27|
|Oil Pollution Placard 32|
|Garbage Placard 34|
|Marine Sanitation Device 35|
|Copy of Navigation Rules (Inland Waters) 36|
|Any Additional State Requirements|
So, make sure your vessel is ready to roll and most importantly, HAVE FUN!