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  • Writer's pictureLisa Clinton

Responsible Boating: Your Pre-Departure Checklist for Safe and Enjoyable Boating

An Ariel view of an Axopar 37 Sun Top Boat on the sea

The weekend is here, and if you plan to be out on the water, we hope you have boatloads of fun! However, responsible boating is essential to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone on the water.


Here's everything you need to know before you boat:

1. Educate Yourself

Take a boater education course: Learn how to properly operate your boat, including navigation, communication and safety. Familiarise yourself with the Navigation Act 2012 to help you understand the rules of boating and follow them at all times while on the water.

2. Preplan Your Trip

Ensure you have up-to-date maps and charts of your destination and check for any area restrictions, closures, and permit requirements. Remember to share your travel plans with someone you trust, including your route and estimated return time.

3. Check the Weather 

Monitor weather conditions and be aware of any adverse weather that may affect your trip. In the case of any dangerous weather, consider taking a different route or rescheduling if necessary. Plus, a bit of sunshine and calm seas can make the journey a whole lot more enjoyable.

4. Triple Check Safety Equipment

Ensure you have the correct safety equipment on board such as a VHF radio, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flares and a Coast Guard-approved life vest (PFD) for each passenger. Have an emergency plan for unforeseen circumstances, including a MOB recovery system, and ensure everyone on board knows it.

5. Follow the Rules of the Water

Understand the laws for your area, check limitations before you set off and abide by all signs and markers. Boat only on waterways open to your type of boat. Follow speed limits, maintain a safe speed and be mindful of other boaters, objects, and swimmers.

6. Respect the Environment

Protect the natural beauty of the oceans by disposing of waste, fuel and oil properly and collect any rubbish you see. Avoid disturbing wildlife habitats and be mindful of seasonal breeding areas.

7. Avoid Alcohol

Designate a sober skipper and refrain from consuming alcohol while boating for your safety and the safety of others. Be mindful of noise levels, especially around shore and in busy areas to minimise disturbance to other boaters and wildlife.

8. Respect Other Boaters

Leave plenty of distance between your boat and others to prevent collisions. Be considerate of wake, avoid creating large wakes that could disturb smaller boats or swimmers. Aim to leave at least 150 feet from other vessels. Don’t be that person!

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a responsible and enjoyable boating experience. Whether you’re on the water for boating, fishing or water-sports, everyone has same right to the water as you do, so let's all do our part to keep it beautiful and safe for all.

Smooth sailing ahead!

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