Chapter 8: Operator Responsibility

Boating Proficiently and Considerately

Becoming a proficient boater:

One will need some practice before becoming truly proficient at operating a boat, preferably with an experienced boater who may offer advice.

When operating a motorboat, keep in mind motorboats are easier to maneuver when going against the current and into the wind. When traveling with the current or wind one will need to react more quickly to match the faster pace. One also needs to be moving faster than the current to retain control over the vessel.

Because boats don't have brakes if one needs to stop or reduce speed the best way to do so is to place the motor in reverse gear and give it power. This is one of the things which one needs to practice as one becomes more proficient with a vessel.

Lastly, become familiarized with the laws of the area one plans on boating in. Make sure to look up and understood the specific local laws regarding how close one may travel to the shoreline, swimming areas, and other boats. These laws vary from state to state and one is responsible for knowing them. These local laws can include regulations on anything from speed limits to the presence of No Wake Zones.

Now, let's review some measures one can take to be a courteous and safer boater:

First and foremost, understand that a vessel can cause serious damage if one reckless. The fun of boating also comes with the responsibility of respecting the power of the vessel and understanding the risks inherent in operating it. Additionally, remember that the boat is one's responsibility. If letting someone else operate it, they should understand proper safety and operating procedures.

Keep an eye on the wake, especially as one is approaching the shore or other boats. The wake can cause damage and a particularly large wake can create a hazard for other boaters or do damage to the shore. Also, remember to keep the noise level low during both the day and night. Try not to recklessly disturb the peace and quiet of those around. One will also want to Minimize the impact on the waterways by collecting any garbage and disposing of it once one returns to shore. Never dump any waste or garbage into the waterways.