Boating Safety and Boating Knowledge

Every year, hundreds of individuals are injured in boating accidents.  Safe boating is as necessary as safe driving.  Individual States have laws and regulations pertaining to boating activity in their jurisdiction.  The portals below will take you to your state where you can find out what you need to know about your State’s boating requirements.

Inaddition to individual State requirements for boating safety, We are providing you with some links to other relevant websites that provide other information that is helpful to boaters.

Learn How to Safely Launch Your Boatbad boat launch

If you avoid a boat launch accident at the beginning, a safe, fun boat trip is more likely to follow.

Don't want your boat to sink? Make sure that the boat plug is securely in place before you put the boat in the water.

Know how to back up the trailer. It might seem counterintuitive but the boat trailer will turn opposite of the truck.

Pay attention to where your truck is while backing the boat down the ramp. (see adjoing photo).

If you have someone helping you back up the trailer, make sure they are aware of where the trailer tires are once it is in the water.

If you have to get out of the truck at the boat ramp, make sure to put on the emergency brake. 

Learn the Aids to Navigationaids to navigation Aids to Navigation are those signs, and red and green things you see out there bobbing around on the water. They tell you where the shallows are and also direct the flow of boat traffic (so long as you know what your are seeing)

Learn the Local Laws and Regulations

Lmaritime laws

United States Coast Guard - Online Inland and International Rules for Navigation

Learn About Tides

extreme tides

What are Tides - Wickipedia

Tide Predictions - Gulf Coast, US East Coast and US West Coast

Tides and Currents - NOAA Center for Opoerationa;l Oceanographic Products and Services


Learn how to Winterize your boat.


Winterizing Your Diesel Engine: Oil Change


State Boating Requirements

Arkansas Arizona California Delaware Florida Georgia
Indiana Idaho Illinois Iowa Kansas Kentucky
Louisiana Massachusetts Maryland Michigan Minnesota Missouri
Mississippi Montana Nevada North Carolina Ohio Oregon
Oklahoma Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee
Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin


Boating Safety and Boating Knowledge Links

Sail Magazine

United States Coast Guard -Vessel Safety Checks

Defibrillators for Boaters

Float Plans

Boat US

United States Power Squadron


Sail Boat Stuff

United States Coast Guard Boating Safety

United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center

Communications Applications -- Article on Apps for Boating Safety including filing logs, Float Plans, Navigation, Weather and boating in general for the iPhone, iPad, Droid and Others. From "Mad Mariner"

CommanderBobs Notebook - Good safety tips within the top banner.

The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship - Published from Australia and has a good BLOG Newsletter


Survival Times without Water

Consumption of hydrating fluids is of great importance regardless of time and temperature. Obviously, in hotter temperatures, the body will lose water faster, so consumption of liquids (nonalcoholic) is even more important. Further, ill health, exposure to the elements, shock, and panic can reduce your survival time in any situation. An important additional consideration is whether or not to eat food when there may be an inadequate supply of water. Certainly foods that contain a high proportion of water, such many kinds of fruits and berries may actually aid the survivor in providing water. Meat, dry and salty foods should be avoided as they require water from your body for processing and will serve to dehydrate you further.

The survivor who is in good health, who uses his head, and rations whatever water is at hand may expect to be able to survive according to the following chart. Of course, there are many factors to be considered so your mileage may vary and this table should not be viewed as all inclusive.

How Long Can You Live Without Water?
Max Daily Temperature Number of Days in the Shade
No Water 1 Quart
.95 Liter
2 Quarts
1.90 Liters
4 Quarts
3.79 Liters
10 Quarts
9.46 Liters
20 Quarts
18.93 Liters
120 F / 48.9 C 2 days 2 2 2.5 3 4.5
110 F / 43.3 C 3 3 3.5 4 5 7
100 F / 37.8 C 5 5.5 6 7 9.5 13.5
90 F / 32.2 C 7 8 9 10.5 15 23
80 F / 26.7 C 9 10 11 13 19 29
70 F / 21.1 C 10 11 12 14 20.5 32
60 F / 15.6 C 10 11 12 14 21 32
50 F / 10.0 C 10 11 12 14.5 21 32

(Table source: Survival Topics at

NOTE: MainSail Charters & Research, LLC does not endorse or deny the information presented in the table above, but only provides it to you, the reader, as a source of information, and denies any responsibility for consequences to readers from use of the information.


Two Myths About Boat Insurance That May Surprise You

SOURCE: BoatUS Press Release 15 April 2010

Photo Caption: How does your boat’s insurance policy treat a sinking like this? BoatUS says the answer may surprise you.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 15, 2010 – Bring up the topic of boat insurance and most boaters will tell you it’s a sleeper. However, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says that many boaters and anglers might be surprised to know the important details about their own boat’s insurance policy. BoatUS would like to debunk two common myths about boat insurance to help boaters choose the right coverage, and become more informed consumers.Myth #1: If you understand home or auto insurance, you’All understand boat insurance.

Most consumers are familiar with standard home or auto insurance policy language, so it’s easy to shop for price as long as each insurance company has about the same service. Then when you have to file a claim, each company will treat the loss in the same manner, right?

Not true with boat insurance, because each company can include or exclude whatever coverage's it desires. That means that one company’s policy could cover damage if your boat sinks, for example, while another could exclude the same loss attributing it to simple “wear and tear.”

Generally, a marine specialty insurer will offer better coverage when compared to adding your boat to your homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, true “boat specialty” policies will have 24/7 emergency response operations to not only take the first report of a claim, but are able to dispatch resources needed to immediately recover and repair the boat, which can also reduce the boater’s exposure to fines and penalties if their boat is sinking and leaking fuel.

In another example, after a hurricane some homeowner’s insurance companies’ primary focus is to process claims for home damage, leaving boat insurance claims a distant second priority. And the longer you wait, the greater the chance the boat could incur more damage.

Myth #2: Most companies that specialize in boat insurance have similar coverage, so it’s best to shop on price.

Again, even among marine specialty insurers, all policies are not the same, so the first task is to review the “exclusions” to see what losses are not covered. A fairly standard exclusion usually starts with wording such as, “any loss caused directly or indirectly by wear and tear, gradual deterioration, rot, corrosion, etc.”

The second task is to then see if the policy has a provision to add back “consequential damage” coverage. Consequential damage coverage appeals to many boat owners because it covers the “consequences” of a loss that was the result wear and tear, deterioration, rot, or corrosion. In plain English: if consequential damage is not covered in your policy, almost every sinking or fire could be excluded.

Lastly, some boat policies limit salvage coverage, or combine salvage expenses with other repair expenses in the same “pile” of money to handle the claim. This means if your boat sinks and the combined cost of salvage and repair surpass your policy’s limits, you’ll be on the hook for the rest. Not good. Most boaters need a policy that treats salvage and repair expenses separately. For example, if you boat is insured for $40,000, you should have up to the full value of the policy ($40,000) for salvage efforts and another $40,000 available for repairs or replacement.

For more information on boat insurance or to ask any questions, call the BoatUS Marine Insurance Department at 800-283-2883 or 800-283-2883. To get a free insurance quote online, go to .


Common Boating Mistakes

Five of the most common boating errors and some thoughts on how to avoid them.

1. Forgetting to Install the Drain Plug Prior to Launch.

Don't assume the drain plug is in the boat. Double-check. Installing the plug is one of the most basic procedures in boating, but almost every weekend at boat launches around the country, some boater forgets it and ends up with a boat full of water.

Embarrassment Level: High -
Danger Level: High -
Adrenaline Level: High - Especially at time of notification
Cost Level: High - Recovery/Salvage; boat repair

2. Failure to Pay Out Enough Line When Anchoring.

The amount of line needed to anchor a vessel (called scope) is five to seven times the depth in calm weather, plus the distance from the surface to where the anchor attaches at the bow. If high winds or rough sea conditions are present, use 10 times the depth. Without the proper scope your vessel may drag anchor and drift ashore, into other vessels or out to sea.

Anchors need to be pulled at a narrow angle to the bottom to allow the flukes to catch, dig in and become set. Once you've paid out the right amount of line, set the anchor by securing the line to the bow cleat and drifting or slowly reversing power downwind, with the bow facing the anchor, until you take up the slack. Add a small amount of steady, reverse power until the anchor digs in and holds.

Embarrassment Level: High - only if observed by others
Danger Level: High - collision with other vessels, running aground,
Adrenaline Level: High - at time of notification, during event
Cost Level: High -could be high as a result of damages to vessel or other vessel

3. Not Carrying Up-to-Date Nautical Charts for the Area Traveled.

A smart skipper always carries a chart of the waters on which he or she is traveling. Not only do you need to know where you are and what is around you, you also need to know what is under you. A chart will tell you how deep the water is, what the bottom is made of and if there are any obstructions, such as rocks or an old wreck, that could cause a problem. Without appropriate charts, a boat operator runs the risk of running aground, hitting submerged objects or just plain getting lost. And...don't forget - GPS does not work if there is no electrical energy supply!!

Embarrassment Level: High - especially if you run aground
Danger Level: High - injuries
Adrenaline Level: High - at time of grounding, water coming into boat
Cost Level: High - tow expenses, boat repair

4. Getting Lost at Night.

If you have done little or no nighttime navigation, allow plenty of time to get back to port before the sun goes down. Take a few runs at night to become familiar with the area where you boat and to know what your favorite area looks like after dark. Use a nautical chart. DO NOT RELY SOLEY ON GPS. Your batteries may go dead. The chart will tell you where the Aids to Navigation are located, how they are lighted at night and what landmarks you may be able to see once the sun goes down. Always pay attention to where you are going while it's light. Carry a VHF-FM marine band radio and if you become disoriented at night, the Coast Guard or local shore patrol may be able to use your radio signal to locate your position and reorient you.

Embarrassment Level: High - pulling into wrong marina
Danger Level: High - running aground
Adrenaline Level: High - realizing your lost
Cost Level: High - dignity

5. Overloading the Boat.

It's easy to overload small vessels unintentionally with people, coolers and gear. When overloaded, a boat is prone to capsizing, even in relatively calm waters. Know your boat's maximum load capacity. On most boats, this information is on the capacity plate, permanently affixed to the hull. Remember that the "maximum safe weight" includes both people and gear.

Embarrassment Level: High -
Danger Level: High - People can die
Adrenaline Level: High - especially at notification of event
Cost Level: High - especially if: boat capsizes & sinks; human life lost

6. Fish Swimming by your Portholes

Embarrassment Level: High -
Danger Level: High - People can die
Adrenaline Level: High - especially at notification of event
Cost Level: High - especially if: boat is sinking; human life lost



  • Vann Burgess, U.S. Coast Guard, Boating Safety Division March, 2010;

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