As April turns into May, summer begins in earnest. This is the time of year most people really enjoy being out on their vessels. Whether you’re hard at work or just kicking back with some friends and family, it’s always important to be safe. We’re always here to help you with your vessel documentation in Spring and all around the year. But we also want you to be safe on the water, too. We’ve collected some tips to keep you safe no matter where your journeys take you. Along the way, we’ll touch on how we make your documentation safer, too.
Fun and Safe Parties
Whether it’s for spring break or just any weekend, having a party on your boat is one of the true pleasures of owning a vessel. Indeed, several owners whose vessels are used in commerce occasionally take a bit of time to have a party on the water. As tempting as it can be to invite everyone you know for the biggest water party of the season, you always want to be careful to not put too many people on your vessel. There’s a recommended maximum number for your vessel, and that number exists for a reason. Even if you’ve followed every other safety rules, this one might overshadow several of the others.
Sober Operator and Even Backup Operator
Obviously, every party that’s going to involve alcohol has to have the nautical equivalent of a “designated driver,” someone who won’t touch a drop of alcohol so that they can safely steer the ship back to shore. However, many parties are now including a “backup operator” as well. This makes sense particularly if the designated sober person will be enjoying activities like swimming and diving. Should anything happen to them in terms of their health, there should be someone else who won’t drink and can drive the boat. It’s natural to think that someone can have just one drink of alcohol and they’ll be fine, but it’s important to remember: you aren’t in a bar. You aren’t on land. It’s been proven that the sun and wind can make the effects of alcohol stronger.
Tests and More
In prior blogs about safety, we mentioned that you should have a float plan that you share with someone who’s going to stay on land. Speaking of plans, be sure to go over the emergency or evacuation plan with your passengers. You’ll want to run a few tests before you embark, too. Testing the radio and any other communication devices is always a good idea. Be sure to look over the engine as well. If you smell a gas odor from an outboard engine, or if it looks like it’s leaking, then you probably want to get that looked at before you go anywhere. Should your engine be in-board, see if there’s leaking, excess water or any other fluid in the bilge.
Vessel Documentation for All
There are many items that you’ll want to have on your vessel when you go out for a party. In addition to all of the fun foods, drinks, and activities, you’ll also want to have all of the necessary personal flotation devices for each passenger. Word to the wise: remove any and all protective packaging before you head out on the water. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of an emergency and fighting with that stuff. It’s easy to forget about the fire extinguishers for a few years, only to later find that they’re expired. Be sure to check them occasionally just to make sure that they’re in their best working order.
As it’s not quite summer yet (as of this writing) nightfall comes sooner than it will during the warmest months. As ever, you want to be especially careful when operating your vessel at night. It’s much harder to see the land at night, which can make navigation that much more difficult. Here is another area where the “backup operator” can come in quite handy. They can serve as a second set of eyes for the captain, letting them know exactly where everything is on the water. Many vessel operators, when out with friends and family at night, just go slower than they might during the day.
One thing you also may want to include on your vessel: your documentation. Perhaps you’ll be in the middle of the party and realize that there’s some documentation you need to fill out. If you can get internet reception, you can fill it out on our site. As our site is fully mobile optimized, it works on phones, tablets, and other devices. You can enjoy the company of your friends while filling out your satisfaction of lien and other forms. See how all of it works by heading to our site or calling us at (866) 981-8783.