is upon us and winter cold is in full effect throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Many
boaters are off the water during the cold months, but safe boating in the
spring and summer starts with proper winterization and preparation.
year when the boating season opens up, the Coast Guard conducts numerous
rescues due to preventable incidents which could have been avoided if the
proper steps were taken for winterization and proper inspections were done
prior to departing for the first time of the season.
too long may be a costly mistake. Expanding water can crack an engine block,
damage fiberglass, split hoses or destroy refrigeration systems. Since most
mariners go out less in the winter, or remove their boat from the water, it is
a great time to perform annual maintenance. In addition to saving money, these
preventative measures could save your life.
November of 2018, Coast Guard crews in the 5th District responded to 14 search
and rescue cases due to dead batteries. There were 119 reported engine failures
of different sorts and more than 200 cases were due to operator error.
some preventative maintenance and taking a boating safety course could have
prevented many of these potentially life threatening situations. The ocean can
be very unforgiving and a disabled boat in the wrong conditions without the
right safety gear can be fatal. Ensuring your boat is properly maintained will
reduce the chance that you and your loved ones will need to be rescued.
a number of things that can be done to ensure your boat is ready to go next
season by preventing problems from developing over the winter. Flushing water
out, adding fuel stabilizer and topping battery electrolyte levels are just a
few things that could make a difference. Check with your local boat dealer,
maintenance center, marina, boating supply store, and boat insurer to find
recommendations and tips to help you determine how to prepare and store your
boat for the offseason.
excellent addition to being a better mariner is taking a boating safety course,
particularly if you have never taken one before or changed residence to another
state. Taking an in-person course introduces you to local boating experts,
raises your awareness of local practices and hazards, and refreshes your
understanding of the rules of the road and good seamanship. Safe boating goes
hand-in-hand with responsible boat ownership.
your EPIRB will help us identify who is in distress and can save precious time
in locating those in distress.
these resources to take action now:
title and registration agencies (for USCG documented vessels): NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, NVDC
safety courses in the mid-Atlantic: NJ (does not offer a list of course
providers online), PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, USCG Auxiliary class finder by zip code.