Oak Orchard Yacht Club promotes National Safe Boating Week

Posted 19 May 2021 at 9:47 am

Press Release, Oak Orchard Yacht Club

Photo by Tom Rivers: This group of boaters, including many with sailboats, were out June 30, 2016 in Lake Ontario near the Oak Orchard Harbor.

May 22-27, 2021 has been named National Safe Boating Week by the National Safe Boating Council in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This is a good time to spend a few minutes considering what it takes to have a safe, fun boating season.

Are there any areas in our boat handling skills or our understanding of navigation rules that could use a refresher or more information about? Is all safety equipment on board and in working order?

During complimentary vessel safety checks provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron it is not uncommon to find a variety of both mandatory and recommended safety items inadvertently overlooked by even experienced boat owners.

The United States Coast Guard annual report “2019 Recreational Boating Statistics” prepared June 4, 2020 listed numerous statistics from their accident reports. Here are just a few:

  • 79% fatalities were from drowning
  • 86% of drowned victims were not wearing a life jacket
  • Alcohol was a leading factor in accidents with 23% of deaths involving alcohol
  • 70% of accidents involved an operator with no formal boater training
  • Top five factors contributing to accidents were alcohol, inattention, inexperience, improper lookout and speed
  • For an in-depth look the full 83-page report can be found by clicking here.

New York State now requires a Boater’s Safety Certificate for powerboat operators, depending on their age and by January 2025 all power boaters, regardless of age, will need a boating safety certificate. Find information about a free boating safety course by clicking here.

Take advantage of a complimentary Vessel Safety Check (VSC) offered by local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working and in good condition. Information about Vessel Safety Checks and a VSC pre-check list can be found on the United States Power Squadron, America’s Boating Club website.

An engine cut-off switch is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard or move away from the helm. Effective April 1, 2021 federal law began requiring certain currently manufactured power boats to be equipped with an the cut-off switch.

Most power boats have been manufactured with an engine cut-off switch for many years but up until recent legislation their use has not been mandated. Using an ECOS is now required while operating power boats less than 26 feet in length that are equipped with an engine cut-off switch with an engine over 2-3 horsepower, an unenclosed helm and operating on plane or above displacement speed. More information can be found by clicking here.

Submitted by John Zimmerman, director Youth Sailing and Education for the Oak Orchard Yacht Club in Waterportwww.oakorchardyachtclub.org.