Lets face it, if we all are going to have fun, we must be responsible.
Educate yourself prior to sailing by learning rules and regulations, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.
- Obtain charts of your destination and determine which areas are open to your type of boat.
- Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
- Always tell someone of your travel plans and file a float plan.
- Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
- Check the weather forecast for your destination. Plan clothing, equipment and supplies
- Make sure you have enough fuel and oil for the entire trip.
- Make sure your owner’s manual and registration are on board in waterproof containers.
- Always carry a Coast Guard approved working fire extinguisher and warning flares.
- Prepare for the unexpected by packing necessary emergency items.
- Carry a Global Positioning System (GPS)and know how to use it.
- Know distress signals and warning symbols. Know your limitations. Apply sunscreen, drink lots of water and watch your energy level.
- Take a boater education course to learn more about navigating waterways and safe boating.
- Make sure your boat is mechanically up to the task.
AVOID SENSITIVE AREAS
Avoid sensitive areas and operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.
- Always launch at a designated boat ramp. Backing a vehicle on a riverbank or lakeshore can damage the area and leads to erosion.
- Always travel slowly in shallow waters and avoid boating in water less than 2½ feet deep. High speeds near shorelines lead to large wakes which cause shoreline erosion.
- Sensitive areas to avoid include seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
- Do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites.
- Avoid “spooking” wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.
- Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas.
RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS
Always respect the rights of others, including anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
- Show consideration to all recreationists on and around the waters.
- Be courteous to other boaters while in boat ramp areas. Launch and retrieve your boat as quickly as possible.
- Keep the noise down, especially around shore.
- If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).