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Safety & Survival How-To's

Homeland Security Restrictions - Boat Saftey Tips

Boating Safety: Homeland Security Restrictions

This video will show ways to avoid alarming Homeland Security while boating. ... read more

Video Transcript

Hey everybody it’s Rob Nelson. Homeland security now is a big force. If you’re a boater you want to make sure you don’t get into trouble with them and there’s a few things you should and shouldn’t do, and that’s why we made this video. So check this out.

Homeland security is vital to all of us and they need our help in keeping our waterways safe and secure. Here’s how you can help and stay out of serious trouble. Never approach any US naval vessel within 100 yards. And if you’re within 500 yards, slow to a minimum speed. If you really need to pass within 100 yards of a US naval vessel for safe passage, you must contact the US naval vessel or the US Coast Guard escort vessel on VHF FM Chanel 16.

Avoid all security zones such as commercial port areas, military, cruise lines and or patrolling facilities. Avoid other restricted areas near dams and power plants. And don’t stop or anchor beneath bridges or in the channel.

Now if you like that clip, you’re probably going to see the whole video which you can do at It’s a great little site where you can get certified in boat safety and of course everybody out there leave comments. We love to hear what you think of the videos and the topics and stuff like that. So see you next time. Bye.

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Vessal Safety Checklist

Vessel Safety Checklist

When claiming ownership over a boat, it is important for boaters to put their boats on constant maintenance so it can remain safe for them and additional passengers. Boat owners can ... read more do this by consistently undergoing vessel safety checks as designated by the United States Coast Guard. These safety checks include more than regularly repairing the engine or re-layering the gel coat. Some of the key tasks to accomplish in a vessel safety check are listed below (this can be done by a local dealership or any qualified organization):

1. Registration numbers must be clearly visible on the hull— registration numbers will be on the front sides of the hull, on both the port and starboard sides. Make sure the lettering is in a readable font with a color that contrasts the background. For instance, if it were a white boat, you would want dark lettering (black, charcoal gray, etc.).

2. Official documents and papers must be on board at all times—just as you would keep official documentation and registration in your car's glove compartment, you must do the same for your boat. Keep the papers on the boat so it is easy to verify certification and ownership.

3. Always make sure there are a sufficient number of Personal Flotation Devices—life jackets are perhaps one of the more crucial objects to keep on board at all times. Life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and must be suitable sizes for all ages and weights. Depending on what kind of vessel, you will need certain types of life vests.

4. Visual Distress Signals—in any critical emergency, possessing a visual distress signal (specifically a flare/flare gun) will help to save your life and the lives of others. It is suggested to have three days and three night pyrotechnic devices. In less critical situations, such as a passenger falling into the water, every boat should contain one-day non-pyrotechnic device, such as a portable orange distress flag. Other recommended devices for various scenarios include strobe lights, signal mirrors, flashlights, and lanterns.

5. At least one fire extinguisher should be on board—depending on the size of your boat, you may need two or more. Fire extinguishers come in certain grades. Keep in mind, the grade of the fire extinguisher depends on the length of the boat. The requirements are as followed:

a. 26' and below = one B-1 extinguisher
b. 26 to 40' = two B-1/one B-2
c. 40' to 65' = three B-1/one B-1 & one B-2

6. All boats must have proper ventilation installed—whether you have gasoline engines in closed compartments or fuel tank compartments, ventilation is required. You can choose between natural or powered ventilation. Ventilation will keep your boat from taking serious damage or causing harm to others.

There are several other qualifications and requirements that you must keep in mind when getting a vessel safety check, such as obtaining navigation lights, sound producing devices, backfire flame control, and so on. We do recommend seeking out the advice of a local dealership or mechanic in this process.

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Boating Safety Tips

It’s gorgeous outside and you must be eager to get on the water. Sometimes we are too excited about what lies ahead to really prepare for the adventures, excitement and necessary safety steps associated with boating. Here is a short and easy list of preparations to consider prior to boating to ensure a safe venture to sea! ... read more
  1. Get a weather report. You should not only watch a weather report prior to launching, but consistently keep up to date on the weather while at sea. Conditions can change in an instant, especially in the summer months. Bring a portable radio with you on your trip and stay tuned for any updates. Most VHF transceivers have built-in NOAA weather radio channels as well. You may also rely on AM/FM channels, television, or you can access weather advisories via smart phones. If a Small Craft Advisory is announced, meaning forecasted winds of 18 to 33 knots or hazardous sea conditions, head for shore as quickly as possible. Because water conducts electricity, it is also important to head for land at the first sign of lightning.

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  3. Know the basics. There are standard pieces of safety equipment that every boat must carry. Always have readily available a US Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device for each individual on the boat as well as a Type IV throwable flotation device and in many states, an audible warning device (we call it a horn). You should also always have on board a tow line, jumper cables, spare propulsion (such as a paddle, oar, or spare propeller), a fire extinguisher, audible and visual distress signals, and something to use for bailing in the event of an accident. Some additional items that may or may not be on your checklist include a flashlight, first aid kit, boarding ladder, tool kit, extra rope, duct tape, extra drinking water, extra batteries and spare spark plugs. Finally, it is important to have a VHF Marine Band Radio. Although it is not required by law, it is a vital piece of safety equipment.
  4. Make a travel plan. Create a “float” plan and leave it with a friend or family member who will remain on shore. Include any details about where you are headed, when you are leaving and when you anticipate returning. You may also want to include who will be on board and a description of your boat. In the event that you should require assistance, these details may be helpful in reaching you.
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  6. Be familiar with the law.As Captain, you are responsible for the safety of those on board, and in some cases, other boaters on the waters. You must know and obey the laws that govern your waterway, and also be familiar with distress signals and navigational lights. Some simple rules of thumb for boating include:a.If two boats are destined to meet perpendicularly, the vessel that has the other on their starboard side must keep out of the way, and must either alter their speed or turn to cross behind the other boat.b.If two boats are bound for a head-on meeting, each must move starboard, so that the other passes on the port side, to avoid collision.c.Powerboats must yield to sailboats and boats being rowed or paddled.d. Never jump a wake. Rather, cross at low speeds and keep your eyes open for skiers and towables.

    e. Comply with absolutely all signs and respect barriers, including speed limits, no-wake zones, etc.

    f. Don’t drink and boat, or consume any other kind of mind-altering substances while you are boating. These impair your ability to reason and make sound judgment. Almost half of all boating accidents involve alcohol.


  7. Distribute weight evenly. When loading your boat, belongings should be distributed evenly and kept at as low of a weight as possible. You should also know and keep within your boat’s capacity. When changing seats in a small boat, stay low and near the center.
  8. Consult NBOA’s checklist for pre-launching (see last month’s “Review” for the check list). Follow some basic guidelines on how to prepare for launch.
  9. Know your boat and be familiar with your surroundings. Everyone on a boat is an active participant on that vessel from the moment they step on to the second they get off. It is imperative that each individual knows safety precautions and the location of all safety equipment on board in the event of an emergency. Do you know how to tie a knot; the right kind of knot for the application? Did you know that five short taps on the horn mean danger in nautical sound signals? Do your passengers know where the first aid kit is on your boat? Do they know how to operate the vessel in the event of an emergency? Consider the risks of boating and how imperative it is that each person on board has the knowledge of the Captain.
  10. Improve your boating skills. Take a beginner or experienced boating safety course. The United States Power Squadron, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Sailing Association and the American Red Cross all offer boating safety courses that will keep you up to date. Participating in a boating safety course may make you eligible for insurance discounts. To find out more about getting specialized insurance to give you peace of mind when you’re out on the water, contact your NBOA representative.

NBOA Marine Insurance is a purveyor of value: quality, impeccable customer service and competitive insurance rates. We say it time and time again, at NBOA Marine Insurance, our marine insurance agents are also boating enthusiasts. We have extensive knowledge of the water, and have made it a priority to educate the marine savvy on the many things we have gathered throughout the years. To learn more about NBOA, visit or call an agent directly at 1-800-248-3512.

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Coast Guard Safety Checklist

In the boating industry we have the very seasoned boater, like myself, and we have the newer people just getting into the best activity out there. With boating being pretty dangerous, if not properly prepared, the USCG has provided a Vessel Safety Checklist (VSC) that must be approved by a certified Examiner. ... read more

Goast Guard Approved

This checklist is for your own safety as well as the safety of others.
  1. Display of Numbers – Registration numbers must be permanently attached to each side of the boat in plain, vertical, block style, no less then 3” high and in contrasting color.
  2. Registration / Documentation – Registration or Documentation papers must be on board and available.
  3. Personal Floatation Device (PFD) – must be USCG approved and in good, serviceable condition and is required for each person on the boat. Must be suitable sizes.
  4. Visual Distress Signals (VDS) -
  5. Fire Extinguishers -

Boat Length

No Fixed System

With Fixed System

Less then 26'

One B-1


26' to less then 40'

Two B-1 or one B-2

One B-1

40' to 65'

Three B-1 or

one B-1 & one B-2

Two B-1 or

one B-2

  1. Ventilation – Boats with gasoline engines in closed compartments, built after August 1980 must have a powered ventilation system. Ones built prior must have natural or powered ventilation.
  2. BackFire Flame Control – All gas powered I/O or O/B boats must be equipped with an approved backfire flame control device.
  3. Sound Producing Devices/Bell – For distress purposes, all boats must carry a sound producing device capable of a 4 second blast that can be heard at least 1/2 mile away.
  4. Navigation Lights – all boats must display lights between sunrise and sunset and in conditions of reduced visibility.
  5. Pollution Placard – boats over 26' with a machinery compartment must display an oily waste “pollution” placard.
  6. MARPOL Trash Placard – boats over 26' operating in US waterways, must display a “MARPOL” trash placard.
  7. Marine Sanitation Devices – any installed toilet must be Coast Guard approved. Overboard discharge outlets must be capable of being sealed.
  8. Navigation Rules – boats 39.4' and over must have a current copy of Navigation Rules.
  9. State and/or Local Requirements – must be met before the VSC decal can be given.
  10. Overall Vessel Condition: as applies
  • Deck Free of Hazards / Clean Bilge
  • Electrical – Fuel Systems – must be protected by fuses and circuit breakers. Portable tanks must be non breakable material and free of corrosion and leaks and properly secured with a vapor tight, leak proof cap. Permanent tanks must be properly ventilated.
  • Galley – Heating Systems – System and fuel tanks must be properly secured with no flammable materials nearby.
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How To Prepare My Boat for a Hurrican

Hurricane Boat Preparation – 5 Crucial Guidelines To Avoid Disaster

Every boat owner always dreads the thought of being in the centre of a hurricane. Sadly, however much we would just love to avoid the situation; this natural catastrophe is bound to happen at some point in time. Unfortunately, the timing ... read more of the disaster can never be foretold hence it may strike when you least expect. The only way to minimize the damage and also avoid the loss of life is through proper hurricane boat preparation.

To come up with the most feasible strategy, it is necessary to think of the following steps:

1. Planning Ahead

The most important rule in regard to preparing the boat in the event of a hurricane is prior planning. A boat owner needs to have a well laid out plan on what to do, how to do it, and where to go in case of a hurricane. Also, important is having a backup plan just in case the original plan fails. You need to find out if the dock or marina offers safe storage points. Find out if the godown or warehouses nearby can provide rental space. You may also locate a hurricane hole (deep-seated bays shielded by trees).

2. Stay Away From the Water

There is always a popular notion that the hurricane won’t be as destructive in the deep sea compared to the shore. Well, this is just a theory. Many boats have been overturned and ripped into pieces while being stationed in the water. The best way to counter the storm is to avoid the water at all costs. Look for safe zones on dry land or where the water is minimal. Always know how you are going to move the boat from the water onto the dry land. It is always advisable to do a dry run so as to test how effective and quick strategy is.

3. Protect the Boat

During a hurricane, a boat will take quite a beating. There is the risk of flying debris breaking the windows or water entering the vessel. Hurricane boat preparation is meant to lessen the damage. First, you may attach some fenders along the boat. A good alternative is used car tires. They will absorb most of the impact instead of the boat. Secondly, use shatter-proof glass instead of the ordinary glass. You may also use perplex or attach panels to protect the windows and doors. Sealing off the gaps and opening with duct tape is also a good move.

Survival is A Must. Know What to do To Keep Yourself Safe

4. Secure the Boat

If moving the boat becomes impossible, always ensure the boat is securely moored to the dock. This should be done using strong ropes and at several points. Before docking the boat, try to remove as many accessories as you can from the boat. These include electronics, furniture, kitchen appliances, sun shades, antennas, dinghies, or any other items that may cause damage. In addition, make sure no combustible substances are left inside the boat. Ensure the boat doesn’t have excess fuel. Also leave the cockpit drain open and set the bilge pump. The remaining items should be tightly tied up together with a sturdy rope. Finally, disconnect the power.

5. Leave Early

Many people value their boat with their dear life. Maybe it’s because it offers them shelter, or it cost an arm and leg, or simply because it’s symbolic value is priceless. Well, the truth is that your life is not worth the risk. As soon as the alarm is activated, always run as far away as you can from the boat. If you reside in a region that experiences hurricanes quite often, you may need to minimize the items you store inside the vessel. This will give you ample time to escape without worrying so much about the valuables.

No perfect way exists in regard to safeguarding a boat in case of disaster. All that a person can do is planning ahead and always being on standby. Many boat owners plan ahead by protecting the boat through installation of boat fenders, shatterproof windows, waterproofing and more. Unfortunately, due to the strong attachment or the boat being their home, they will stay put when a hurricane strikes. Well, the golden rule when it comes to hurricane boat preparation is always staying away from the vessel. In fact, don’t be anywhere near the water.

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Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard

Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard

This Boat-Ed safety course video discusses the dangers of falling overboard, capsizing, and swamping. Minimize risks by following safe practices such as never overloading a boat, and requiring that passengers sit properly within the boat and not on the gunnel, bow, or transom. ... read more

Video Transcript

Despite ideal weather conditions passengers fall overboard and many boats capsized or swamped. This causes more than half of all boating fatalities. You can minimize the risk of capsizing, swamping and falling overboard. Just practice some simple precautions.

Capsizing usually occurs when a boat operator takes a sudden or sharp high speed turn so always maintain a prudent speed. Swamping is often the result of overloading or boating in hazardous weather conditions. Pay attention to your boat’s load capacity and the weather.

Keep your passengers from going overboard. Don’t let them sit on the gunnel or transom. Stand or lean out of the boat while underway. Another important way to prevent accidents is to stay alert, failure to stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings are major causes of collisions.

Courtesy of
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About Safety & Survival

Keeping Safe on the Water with Safety and Survival Products

Be prepared when you hit the waters, so you can enjoy your time out there with family and friends. Before you ever get on the water, you will want to check over your boat to make sure its in good condition and working. Not to mention making sure you have the items you will need in case of any emergency. If not you may get stranded out in the open water. It could be hours or even days before anyone can find you. The items in our Safety and Survival category can and will help you in any situation. We offer everything from coastal/offshore life rafts for the oceanic weekender to boating safety videos just to help increase your knowledge when it comes to marine safety and survival. We have fire suppression systems for accidental fires and survival kits. We even carry a large selection of PFD's for your little ones and yourself.