Page 10 - Mid America Boating - September issue
P. 10

Boat Smart

                                                                                                                         With fewer boaters on the water there is
     ]     10  Labor Day weekend has arrived!                                                                          less chance for you to attract attention.
                                                                                                                       Should you become disabled, there is little
                                                                                                                       chance anyone will be around to even notice.
                                                                                                                         After using our boats all summer without a
               Now, enjoy fall boating – with just a                                                                   problem most of us don’t even consider the
                                                                                                                       possibility of a break down. This thinking can
               little extra forethought                                                                                lead to an experience you’ll long remember. If
                                                                                                                       you file a float plan and have an agreement to
                                                                                                                       check in, should you become disabled some-
                                                                                                                       one will be aware. That person will contact
                                                                                                                       authorities or at least a friend who can look
                                                                                                                       for you and assist if you need it. With a float
                                                                                                                       plan and a check-in time set you can be sure
                                                                                                                       someone on shore knows if you’re overdue.
                                                                                                                         As I have written many times, no boat of any
                                                                                                                       size should leave shore without a VHF marine
                                                                                                                       radio, especially a vessel traveling on a large
                                                                                                                       body of water. Even though you plan to stay
                                                                                                                       close to shore, an offshore wind could carry
      By Capt. Fred Davis                                                         water, there are not a lot of other boats  you further out quickly and who will notice?
                                                                                  around. With only a few boats on the water,  Although I do not endorse a cell phone as
        Captain Fred Davis, who dedicated himself to decades of continously promoting boating safety, wrote  fewer people are aware of your activities and  the primary means to communicate, having
      hundreds of boating columns for Mid-America Boating and other publications on the subject that were  if a problem arises, there are less people to  one along with a list of local numbers to call
      published during his lifetime. Captain Fred passed away in 2019, but many of his discussions about boat-  assist you.  for help could be very useful. The phone
      ing safety remain timeless. Here is one of his many columns pertaining to the universal message about  A good policy to follow is leaving a float  would be handy when you return to shore to
      outfitting a boat for safety before you launch it for another season.       plan with someone you can check in with  call the person with your float plan and let
                                                                                  when you return. Let this person know where  them know you have safely returned.
        Labor Day is the last big boating weekend of the summer for many families. School begins  you will be boating, the hours you expect to  Along with a radio and cell phone, be sure
      and all the kids extra activities take most of the families time.           be on the water, where you will be traveling to  to carry a bright flashlight (check the batter-
        There may be a chance for an autumn fishing trip or perhaps one more beach party and pic-  and most important when you expect to  ies) or spotlight and be sure you have the
      nic but most boats will be gone after Labor Day.                            return. Many boaters think a float plan is too  required flares. I believe it is best to have
        During this time of year, days are shorter and darkness moves in long before bedtime. The  much trouble and checking in when you  extra flares at this time of year. You could
      early darkness and cooler temperatures limit family activities. By the time homework is done  return is childish. That may be, but who will  beckon help with them but if no one sees the
      its time for bed.                                                           know your missing if you don’t set a plan?   first attempts, you may need to send up
        The past summer was very warm, some days a bit too warm. If you had a boat, time spent on  Problems with a boat are a lot different in  repeated flares to be noticed. Try to save at
      the water was probably great. Fall boating brings many changes. If a trip is made out on the  the off-season.    least one until you see a searchlight or emer-
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