Some Boater Safety Basics

İzmir Let’s suppose you followed my plan and decided to learn about boating through a Boating Safety Class. Since I taught that class to more than 4000 students, I would like to share some information which may, or may not, be addressed by your instructor. The first chapter of the class revolves around basic boat types and engine choices for various vessels. It is important to note that boats are made for differing environments. A vessel that might be perfectly safe in a small lake may become unsafe in the ocean. If you are going to use your boat in the ocean, you must be sure that it is safe, a “blue water vessel”,  by speaking to the boat dealer, looking online for manufacturer verification, etc. One obvious component of an ocean going vessel is the boat’s freeboard. Without sufficient freeboard, ocean waves will spill into the vessel and possible cause it to sink.  As you can see from the ocean going vessels shown below, their freeboard is high enough to keep the ocean swells from entering over the bow (front of the vessel). red blue and white fishing boats on dock during daytime

Another important component of safe boating is the engine/engines. My experience is predominantly with inboard vessels and I can say, unequivocally, twin inboards are easier to dock and maneuver than single inboards. I can hear the yelling from those who disagree, but those single inboarders will usually have a bow or stern thruster, turning their single engine into a fake twin engine!!

Also, there is some disagreement between those who think gasoline engines are better than diesel and vice versa. Rather than repeat the details your boating safety instructor will provide, I just want to give you my opinion, influenced in large part because my husband had some really bad experiences with gasoline. His bottom line was gasoline FUMES can explode, so we always purchased a vessel with diesel  engines. However, please keep in mind that most manufacturers only offer diesels on vessels over 30 to 35’, and diesels engines are more costly than gasoline.

Another important item to emphasize pertains to the capacity plate on your boat or in your manual. It will usually say, US Coast Guard Maximum Capacities, and then it will give the number of persons along with their weight suggestion, followed by the number of pounds including persons and gear. Many people just see the number of people allowed on the boat and look no further. But this is erroneous and dangerous. You must take the gear, and the equipment, and that heavy cooler into consideration. The reason this is important is that too much weight on a vessel makes it unstable, and prone to capsize.

One of the more common reasons why boats capsize is that they become unstable when all of the occupants lean to one side. This is true of all vessels, particularly of the smaller, lighter ones. So be aware when someone says, “hey, look at that big fish on the left side of the vessel” to warn your guests not to all move in that direction simultaneously.