On Friday, May 22, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. the Massachusetts State Police Marine Section hosted a press event to educate the public on boating safety in advance of the summer boating season.
Trooper Timothy Driscoll of the Massachusetts State Police Marine Section urged boaters to be safe as they enjoy their time on the waterways of the Commonwealth this summer, and recommend the following safety tips:
- Safety Equipment: The State Police urge boaters to conduct a safety check on their vessel prior to getting underway to ensure that they have all the necessary safety equipment on-board.
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's): Boaters are required to have one Coast Guard approved, readily accessible, appropriately sized PFD for every passenger on-board. Children under the age of 12 are required to wear PFD's at all times while on deck.
- Fire Extinguishers: Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers are required on boats where a fire hazard could exist.
- Emergency Flares: All boats are required to carry 3 flares.
- Emergency Radio: Boaters should maintain a watch on Channel 16 and familiarize themselves with distress call procedures.
- Sound Producing Device: Boaters are required to always have access to a whistle, horn or bell in order to signal their position and intentions in periods of reduced visibility.
- Bailing Device: Boaters must always keep a manual bailing device on board for use in the event that the vessel begins to take on water.
- Propeller Safety Device: The State Police strongly recommend that all boaters install a propeller safety device to help protect passengers and swimmers from propeller strikes.
- Never Boat Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs: Impaired boating is extremely hazardous and boaters are reminded that if they are found to be boating under the influence this summer, they will be arrested and their license to operate motor vehicles in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be suspended.
- Obey Posted Speed and Minimal Wake Signs: Boaters are reminded to obey speed limit and wake zone signs. Speed limits are often posted in congested waterways, but boaters are advised that during inclement weather or periods of reduced visibility, they must operate at an even slower speed appropriate for the conditions. Additionally, minimal wake zones help assure the safety of other boaters and protect the environment.
- Get a Vessel Safety Check and Enroll in a Boating Safety Course: The State Police recommend that all boat owners have yearly vessel safety checks. Having a yearly vessel safety check is one of the best ways for boat owners to discover unsafe conditions on their vessels. The State Police also urge boaters to take a boating safety course to more thoroughly familiarize themselves with boating safety and maritime law.