5 Boater Safety Courses That Prevent Common Accidents

By Tom Keer

Oct 28, 2015

A boater safety course might not remind you to put the plug in your boat to keep her from filling up with water.

A boater safety course might not remind you to put the plug in your boat to keep her from filling up with water. But one might help you in other ways. Here are five reasons to take one, even if you're an Old Salt.

  1. All About Marine Radio. Most of the time we use a radio to chat up other anglers, but unless we're in the United States Navy or Coast Guard we do not use our radios in emergency situations. Learning how to best use a radio sets up boaters for success by bailing 'em out of a jam.

  2. Flares and Distress Signals. Ok, so you're in trouble and you are waiting for a rescue ship. What is the best way to signal for help from your location? If you're over the horizon line where the earth's slope keeps flares out of sight, what do you do? (the answer is to shoot a parachute flare). There are lots of options for pyrotechnic distress signals, and this course helps you be prepared.

  3. Navigational Rules. Red Right Return, we know that's how you enter a harbor, but what about crossing vessels (boats from the right have right of way), aids to navigation (like nuns and cans), and other rules of the water?

  4. Hurricane Prep. Sure there is a hurricane season, and some areas are heavily and routinely hit. Those boaters are well equipped to respond to that situation, but what if you're in a neighboring region that isn't frequently hit?

  5. Crew Overboard. Watching a member of your crew fall overboard is pretty scary, particularly because it's caused during stormy weather conditions. While the simple answer is to get 'em back in the boat, there are a lot of different ways to go about it, especially when the water isn't making for an easy rescue.

We're all quick to say we can figure out what to do in an emergency, but having a boat safety checklist helps us take the sting out of a mishap.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.