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Rules and Equipment for Boat Owners

Oct 31, 2007
For anyone who owns a boat, there are ten rules which should always be kept in mind. There is also certain equipment which should always be carried aboard ship.

1. Check your boat thoroughly and never leave your mooring until you have done so.

2. Never over-load your boat and at all times be especially careful about non-swimmers and children.

3. Carry a life preserver for every person on board. Be sure they're worn when doing deck duty in rough weather.

4. Carry filled fire extinguishers.

5. Exercise extreme caution when filling fuel tanks - no smoking - turn off all fires and electric accessories - hold filling nozzle firmly against fill pipe (ground it) - wipe up spillage - thoroughly ventilate engine compartment and all enclosed spaces before restarting motors.

6. Observe carefully weather, wind, tide and current conditions before starting. Plan emergency harbors on long hops.

7. Keep to the right when meeting another boat and give the right-of-way to vessels approaching in your danger zone on the starboard (right) side.

8. Always be Courteous, Careful and Competent. Watch your wash! Slow down to 4 mph in harbors. Keep away from large vessels, which are not as maneuverable as smaller craft. Keep away from all sail boats - small ones may be swamped by the wash from a motor boat and large sailing yachts do not have the maneuverability of a motor boat.

9. Never make a turn at high speed. Small craft can easily be and have been swamped by their own wash.

10. Approach dock or mooring slowly against the wind or current, whichever is strongest.

Articles of Equipment Which Should Be Aboard Every Well-Found Boat, Though Not Required By Law

The Motor Boat Act prescribes that motor boats must carry certain equipment for the safety of those aboard. This includes life preservers, lights, whistle, bell, fire extinguishers, name arresters on carburetors, ventilating cowls and ducts for the bilges, and the certificate of registration. These requirements vary with the class of boat, and certain exceptions are made in some classes.

In addition to this required equipment, however, there are other things which should be aboard before a boat may be considered to be well-found. The extent of cruising the boat does will determine the amount and kind of equipment, such items as anchors and lines, boat hook, fenders, bilge pump, tool kit, spare engine parts, piloting equipment, auxiliary lighting equipment, and such special safety equipment as ring buoys, flares, and a first aid kit.

In the same category with tools and spare parts we might include a few good carpenter's tools, extra pieces of line of several sizes, a ball of marlin, an assortment of nails, screws, bolts, washers, wire, caulking cotton, paint, etc. On boats equipped with sails a small repair kit should be added containing twine, wax, needles, palm, fid, and similar articles. All should be properly stowed to keep it accessible and in good condition.

Other miscellaneous items would be a deck mop, pail (some prefer a canvas bucket), a chamois for cleaning windows, brass polish, a supply of oil for engine, grease (both the regular and waterproof varieties as required), some light machine oil and penetrating oil for rusted parts, vaseline, distilled water, a hydrometer, some clean rags and several rolls of paper towels. An emergency tiller is often carried.

Keep the ten rules of conduct outlined, and carry the equipment mentioned above, and you will be well-prepared for anything.
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