5 Ways Boaters Should Prepare For The Season
1. Know Your Boat - Read your manuals, and understand what your boat is capable of, Become familiar with its handling characteristics and practice with it; docking, un-docking and maneuvering to close quarters under different conditions. Make sure your spouse or boating partner can operate the vessel in case you are incapacitated.
2. Inspect Safety Equipment- Make sure you have the correct number of accessible and serviceable fire extinguishers on board and you know how to use them. Check that you have enough approved and readily available PFDs aboard your boat.. Also include a "throw-able" device where it can be easily reached.
3. Take A Course- Tale time to enroll in a classroom environment course available from the USCG Auxiliary or the MSHP/WP. Anyone operating a vessel on Missouri water born after January 1, 1984 must have a "Boater Education Card". Online courses are also available.
4. Check Your Engine Compartment- The most common reasons boats get towed at the start of season are because of poorly maintained or old batteries, engine overheating due to improper "summerizing" of he motor, and taking on water due to not inspecting for leaks prior to use.
5. Exercise Common Sense- If you are going to call yourself "Captain", set the example aboard your vessel. Wear a PFD and ensure your passengers do as well, leave alcohol alone, and maintain a sharp lookout. YOU are responsible for your boat and passengers.