Safe Boating

By Jackie Vogen - May 1, 2008
My husband and I purchased our first boat approximately three years ago. At that time, boating was new to me, so my immediate goal was to gain a better understanding of boating. As a novice, my objective was to learn to properly operate a boat and become an informed recreational boater through educational boating courses. I wanted to maximize my awareness of boat safety and become a responsible boater. My husband and I were going to spend many pleasurable hours out on the water fishing together; therefore, I wanted to learn how to handle any situation that would arise in the event of an emergency. There should always be at least one passenger on board that can safely operate the boat in case of an emergency. As a passenger, what would you do if you were out boating and the operator of the boat became ill? Would you be able to operate the boat and get back to safety? If not, I encourage you to take an educational boating course.

My first course of action was to educate myself through boating safety courses. I took a four week course through the United States Power Squadron on Boat Smart and an eight week course through the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary on Boating Skills and Seamanship. These courses are designed to help you become a better recreational boater. You're taught the knowledge and skills that you need to boat safely. With this knowledge, you'll have a thorough understanding of how your boat operates. The confidence gained through these courses could make all the difference in handling an emergency situation if you're ever confronted with one. As part of the course, you'll receive a reference book which you can always refer to as needed. Individuals who successfully complete either of these courses and exams are awarded certificates and cards. Both courses are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Many insurance companies will offer discounts on boat insurance to individuals who successfully complete either of these courses. I strongly recommend these courses to anyone who takes to the water in any form of pleasure craft.

As an owner and operator of a boat, I've always participated in getting a "Vessel Safety Check". You can arrange for a VSC by contacting your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons. This free VSC is a courtesy examination of safety equipment carried or installed on your boat. The examiners main purpose is to make sure your marine safety equipment is in compliance with federal, state and local recreational boating safety laws. They will answer any of your boating-related safety questions and make suggestions that will make your boating experience safer. If your vessel meets or exceeds all VSC requirements, the examiner will award the owner or operator a Vessel Safety Check decal. The Vessel Safety Check gives you a risk-free way to meet the legal minimums and to potentially avoid a costly citation.

As a boat owner, it is your responsibility to operate a boat in a safe manner. Invest your time in an educational boating course and stay safe on the water!

I Love what I'm learning and I'm learning what I Love to do. I LOVE TO FISH!

Author Jackie Vogen
Jackie Vogen
My name is Jackie Vogen "aka Redrose4u2" and I'm 50 years old. I live in New Lenox, Illinois. I've been married to my husband and best friend, Ken, for 31 years. We've raised two beautiful daughters, who are now grown up, and have left home. We've recently entered into a new stage in our life; we've become "empty nesters". This new independence has allowed me to discover my passion in life; I LOVE TO FISH! I'm what you would call a "Beginner Fisherwoman" or a "Novice". Besides fishing, I enjoy computers, gardening and photography. Through fishing and photography, I've been able to capture my thoughts, while surrounded in the beauty of the sport. I'm looking forward to sharing my passion with you!