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Good seamanship and navigation are fundamental to safe boating, together with the three Cs: commonsense, care and courtesy.

Safe boating requires some discipline and no cutting of corners, but we guarantee your efforts in this regard will pay dividends by way of satisfaction and a feeling of security and comfort as you enjoy the waterways. Safety consciousness isn't a question of simply being aware of your responsibilities and what are appropriate actions in various circumstances but a matter of anticipating danger by being alert to all the possibilities.

Listed below are the most important points to remember for safe and pleasurable boating. They are not given in any particular order of priority as they are all important.

  • Know your boat - Are you familiar withe the manoeuverability of the boat? Have you sufficient length of rope or chain attached to the anchor for any eventuality?
    Do you know what every knob, dial, line, locker and piece of equipment is for? You should be able to find anything to do with safe and efficient operation of the boat blindflded. Don't take the boat out until you do!
  • Correct equipment - Have you placed the right equipment aboard? Is it in good order and condition? Is the battery charged? Do you know where it is if there is an emergency?
  • Correct use of equipment - Know how to use the equipment and ensure that it is accessible at all times.
  • Regulations - You should know your local marine authority's regulations applicable to your area.
  • Dangers - Always, before casting off, identify where any dangers lie, above or below the water surface, such as rocks or reefs or a powerful current.
  • Seaworthiness - Everything aboard, both boat and equipment, must be in full working order. To ensure seaworthiness it is helpful to consult a checklist before you go out on the water.
Essential Eqiupment

It is illegal to navigate any small craft in waterways if it is not carrying the minimum safety equipment. The minimum safety equipment requirements are defined by the local maritime authorities.The requirements vary depending on the size of the craft and on whether the area of operation is in enclosed waters or offshore.
It is vital that equipment intended for use in saving lives is manufactured to a standard that ensures the quality of the equipment and its suitability for the stated purpose.

Enclosed waters
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Radio receiver
  • Anchor and line
  • Bucket or bailer and lanyard
  • Paddles or oars and rowlocks
  • Waterproof torch
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flares
  • "V" sheet
  • Buoyant quoit and line
  • Waterways map
  • Horn
  • Mirror
  • Tool kit
  • First aid kit
  • Barometer
  • Depth sounder
  • Navigation lights
  • Water
Offshore waters
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Pumps
  • Two-way radio
  • Extra flares
  • Lifebuoy
  • Chart and compass
  • Heliograph
  • Speedometer/Log
  • Extra fuel resources
  • Additional fresh water
  • Sea anchor
    Related links
  • Argus Nautical
  • The Art Of Sailing
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • Australian Search & Rescue
  • Auxiliary Sail Vessel Operations
  • Boating Safety Information
  • Boat Safe
  • Canadian Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety
  • Commander Bob's Boating Safety Notebook
  • Definitions and Mnemonics for Sailors and Powerboaters
  • Disaster Recovery How-To
  • The Foundation for Safe Boating and Marine Information
  • The International Maritime Organization
  • International Marine Signal Flag Images
  • Kids in Boats
  • Landfall Navigation
  • Macneil's Seamanship Examiner
  • Marine Medical Int
  • Marine Medical Syst
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of the Lifesaving Society
  • RBBI's Open Water Rescue Procedures & Equipment
  • The Royal New Zealand Coast Guard's Safety Page
  • United States Power Squadrons District 27
  • The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Boston
  • The US Coast Guard
  • Water Safety NZ
  • Water Wise: Safety for the Recreational Boater
  • Wooden Boat Foundation Educational Programs

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