Labor Day Boating Safety Tips

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BoatUS is anticipating a busy Labor Day weekend.

Boating traffic and complacency can always lead to safety concerns, and Boat Owners Association of The United States says this Labor Day weekend is bound to be a busy one with people looking to escape their homes during the pandemic.

Labor Day is already one of the three major weekends for the nation’s 12 million boat owners to get out on the water — along with Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

This year, BoatUS’s nationwide on-water towing fleet, TowBoatUS, is forecasting an increase in number of boaters on the water this three-day holiday weekend.

“Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are the 1-2-3 peak boating weekends of the year in terms of the volume of requests from boaters needing towing assistance services,” said BoatUS towing services vice president John Condon in a statement.

That gives the organization a “fair barometer” of boating traffic, said Condon.

“However, social distancing guidelines from Covid-19 and the subsequent increase in boat sales already has led our fleet to respond to an average of 20 percent more calls than last summer,” said Condon. “This Labor Day holiday, all bets are off. If the weather holds, that number will likely go up.”

“At this time of year complacency can set in,” said BoatUS Foundation’s boating safety director, Ted Sensenbrenner. “You’ve had a safe boating season up to now, but don’t let your guard down just yet.”

BoatUS is asking boaters if they could find flares in a messy locker.

BoatUS is asking boaters if they could find flares in a messy locker.

Sensenbrenner is offering up tips for boaters on this unique Labor Day weekend.

* It’s easy for flares to get buried under an inner tube in the back lazarette, for example, so boaters should make sure they can locate them before heading out on the water.

* Personal flotation devices should be inspected — BoatUS asks, “Has the dog eaten one?”

* The captain’s throwable (Type IV) personal floatation device should be at the helm within easy reach, not in the back under the stern seat.

* Check to ensure navigation lights are still working.

* Check the U.S. Coast Guard Local Notice for Mariners to see if anything has changed, such as recent storms affecting navigation or infrastructure work.

* Over the course of the summer, boat trailer’s safety chains can accidentally drag on the pavement and leave them compromised, so boaters should make sure that hasn’t happened, and that the brake lights are still operable.

The BoatUS Foundation offers free online boating safety courses for boaters that want to brush up on their skills before the holiday. 

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