While many boaters in colder parts of the country have winterized their boats or put them into storage until spring, many will still be using them for holiday parades or late season fishing. Unfortunately, the risk of a deadly accident is increased with cold weather. Extra caution and preparation should be taken before heading out on the water in winter. Please share these winter boating tips for a safe and happy holiday season.
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- Assess the risks - think what can go wrong and be fully equipped and prepared.
- Leave a float plan with a responsible individual who knows your intentions, location, and who to call if you fail to return as scheduled.
- Carry a VHF radio and an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), signal flares and other means to draw attention to your location.
- Be aware of and prepared for the shock of sudden immersion and incapacitating effects of cold water - dress to get wet and carry a change of clothing in a waterproof container.
- Be aware of activity around your vessel and potential for fast-changing weather.
- Boat safe and sober - save the alcohol for when you've safely returned.
- Be sure your vessel is in good operating condition and has the necessary safety equipment on board before you leave the dock.