U.S. Coast Guard boating statistics estimate 80% of all reported fatalities occur on boats where the operator has not received safety training. As Memorial Day approaches and crowds flock to the water, May 17-23 has been designated National Safe Boating Week. You can help promote secure practices by sharing these tips for a safe boating season.
1. Wear a Lifejacket
Last year, the number one cause of boating fatalities in Massachusetts was drowning. None of the victims involved were wearing a lifejacket. Be sure to equip your boat with jackets in appropriate sizes and types for the intended wearers – even pets!
Massachusetts law stipulates that year-round, anyone younger than 12 years old must wear a life jacket while onboard a boat, as must all water skiers and personal watercraft users. Each vessel’s owner or operator is responsible for making sure that life preservers are available for each passenger and, if required, worn by their passengers.
2. Stay Alert
3. Take a Safety Course
The Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) offer a state and nationally approved safe boating course. Young boaters between 12-15 years old are required to take the course for a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat without supervision. Teens between 16-17 years old who wish to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) must also receive a boating safety certificate via the course.
While adult boaters are not required to obtain a certificate, the course is recommended as a safety refresher. Classes are free and run 10-12 hours in length.
4. Check the Weather
Be aware of conditions on the water when planning a day outdoors. Know the tides, currents, sandbars, and other features of the area in which you will be boating. Understand that boating conditions can change quickly, and know your limits.
5. Practice Clean Boating
Oil leaks, fuel spills, boat sewage, and detergents all run the risk of polluting water and shore areas. Reduce the effects of boating on the environment by disposing of materials safely at boat pumpout facilities. For more tips, take a look at the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management’s simple steps to clean boating.
Secure practices are easy to adopt and keep boaters safe on both land and water. Share these tips with others to spread awareness of National Safe Boating Week. Enjoy the summer season by celebrating on the water and boating responsibly!
What are your boating safety tips for others? Share in the comments below, or by tweeting us @MassGov.
Boat Smart from the Start for National Safe Boating Week posted on May 19
The simple act of wearing a flotation device can save a life. According to a 2013 U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recreational boating report, in fatal boating accidents where the victims drowned, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket. National Safe Boating Week, designated from …Continue Reading Boat Smart from the Start for National Safe Boating Week
Family Support Services for Families Caring for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities posted on May 15
Many families across Massachusetts care for loved ones with intellectual disabilities. Through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Commonwealth offers a number of programs designed to help these families by providing a wide array …Continue Reading Family Support Services for Families Caring for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
Celebrate Cycling in Massachusetts posted on May 12
Hold onto your handlebars this May as Massachusetts celebrates National Bike Month and Bay State Bike Week from May 9–17. Whether you’re biking to get in shape, get to work, or have some fun, the Commonwealth has something to offer you. The Department of Public …Continue Reading Celebrate Cycling in Massachusetts