Brief your crew
Before heading out for a day on the water, be sure to brief your crew. Talk to your passengers about your boat and make sure you have someone on board who knows how to operate it should you become incapacitated. A crew briefing can make running your boat easier and your guests feel safer.
Here are some things you should consider covering:
- Where to find life jackets, a first-aid kit, visual distress signals and fire extinguishers. Be sure to offer life jackets to your guests and encourage everyone to wear them. Additionally, point out the best places to sit on board and remind them to spread out and not all sit or stand on one side of the boat.
- How to operate the VHF marine radio in case of an emergency. Most people know that radios are “push to talk,” but in an emergency, they forget to “release to listen.”
- How you will handle docking procedures and what help you expect when you get to your destination. You don’t want to be unprepared for docking. Although everyone wants to help, they may not know the best way to do so. Covering this ahead of time helps avoid last-minute confusion and mishaps.
- While you’re at it, discuss the route so they understand what they will see along the way. Visitors may not be familiar with local waters. Helping them appreciate what they are about to experience sets the stage for a fun day.
Finally, always have someone on board who can be your partner in command. This person should be able to operate your boat and get everyone home safely (or to a designated access point where help is available) if you become incapacitated. Taking time to brief your crew will help everyone stay safe and have more fun on the water. –Thomas E. Dawson of America’s Boating Club Cape Coral
Image courtesy of America’s Boating Channel
Be a good crewmember
Learn the essential boating skills you need to operate a boat safely and become a confident and valued crewmember.