Sea Tow’s Top 10 Tips Before Leaving the Dock
Boating season is upon us, and this year promises to bring another record number of new and existing boaters to our nation’s waterways. To help keep your day on the water as fun, safe and problem free as possible, Sea Tow has released its top ten 10 tips to consider before you leave the dock:
- Have a checklist. Before leaving the dock, have a pre-departure checklist to review all critical systems (i.e.: engine check, battery levels, fuel levels, etc.).
- Don’t solely rely on the fuel gauge. Boaters should keep a fuel log so they know how much fuel their boat uses, when they last filled up, how many hours the boat has run, and how much fuel is left.
- Follow the rule of thirds. Be sure to have enough fuel to allow for: 1/3 of fuel to head to the destination, 1/3 of fuel to head back to the dock and 1/3 of fuel “just in case.”
- Check the charts. Review the intended voyage plan and be aware of sandbars, shallow areas, channel and buoy locations, etc. so the boat doesn’t run aground, and there are no surprises.
- Carry extra lines and fenders. Both are needed when rafting up with friends or when tying up at a waterfront restaurant.
- Safety first. Boaters should inform passengers of their boat safety rules such as where life jackets are located and that they must remain seated while the boat is underway. This helps to avoid distracting the captain during the voyage.
- Keep two anchors aboard. You never know when one might get away, so always have a spare and make sure it’s the appropriate size for the boat and where the hook will be dropped.
- When in doubt, slow down or stop. Trying to figure things out while underway can often lead to hitting something or running aground.
- Be courteous. Boaters should always watch their wake and wave when fellow boaters pass by. It’s one big community on the water, so be a good neighbor and be friendly!
- Always have a backup plan. It’s often said “when the unexpected happens” because no one ever plans on needing help on the water. Having an on-water assistance membership with Sea Tow is guaranteed peace-of-mind that if anything happens out on the water, someone is standing by to come help.
Known as Your Road Service at Sea, Sea Tow has been at the forefront of on-water assistance since 1983, and offers its members a comprehensive list of benefits at one annual membership fee, including 24/7 dispatch, free boat towing in your home area, unlimited dock-to-dock towing, battery jumps and fuel delivery, nationwide offshore coverage and additional paid on-water services.
“At Sea Tow, we are big advocates of getting out on the water and having fun, and we want boaters — new and salty — to do so confidently,” says Sea Tow President Kristen Frohnhoefer. “Our captains are your resource on and off your boat, on and off the water. They know the local waters and can help with navigation assistance, tides and weather, anchorages and even mishap prevention tips. No one plans for something to go wrong on the water so it’s important to take the proper steps before you push off.”
To learn more, visit seatow.com.