Explore Our Boating Safety Guide

You learned the "rules of the road" before you sat behind the wheel of a car, and you should do the same before taking the helm. Just like studying to get your driver’s license, it is very important to have the boating information and certifications you need to be a safe boater before you hit the water

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Take a Boating Course

New boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating rules of the road. Boating safety courses are offered locally, inexpensive and often completed in a day, in-person or online.

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Free Safety Check

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they also offer virtual vessel exams.

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Use Common Sense

Operate at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), stay alert and steer clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.

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Be Weather-Wise

Always check local, route and destination weather and water conditions before departure and ensure it is safe to go out.

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Avoid Alcohol

Operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal. Nearly half of all boating accidents involve alcohol—designate a sober skipper before leaving the dock.

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Stay Clear of the Engine

Drivers should wear the boat’s engine cut-off switch lanyard at all times. Keep watch around the propeller area when people are in the water. Never allow passengers to board or exit your boat from the water when engines are on—or idling. Take extra precautions near boats towing skiers or tubers.

Boating Safety Guide: Staying Safe on the Water

You learned the "rules of the road" before you sat behind the wheel of a car, and you should do the same before taking the helm. Just like studying to get your driver’s license, it is very important to have the boating information and certifications you need to be a safe boater before you hit the water. In fact, a number of states require powerboat operators to take a boater’s education course and carry a license or certificate proving successful course completion any time they're on the water. By consulting a safe boating guide and obtaining the required certificates beforehand, you not only protect yourself and family but other boaters on the water.

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