New York Sea Grant shares clean and safe boating tips as the new "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" educational vessel travels to venues throughout upstate New York through the 2014 boating season. The top 10 list of tips from New York Sea Grant is designed to help boaters be safe, environmentally friendly and legal on New York's recreational waters:
1. Wear it! Make sure all passengers are wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket. A throwable floatation device is also required for boats more than 16 feet long.
2. Conduct a clean, drain, dry inspection of your watercraft, trailer and gear to remove aquatic invasive species and debris each time you enter and leave new water.
3. Check that the safety features of your boat trailer are in proper working order before use in the spring and throughout the boating season.
4. Depending upon your age, be sure you have the proper boating safety certification. New regulations took effect in New York May 1.
5. Check expiration date/s of onboard fire extinguisher/s and flares. Be sure you have the correct number of extinguishers aboard per Coast Guard regulations. Store flares and distress signals in a dry compartment.
6. Use a fuel nozzle bib and bilge sock to keep fuel from spilling into the water.
7. Make sure all vessel lights are working and flashlights have fresh batteries.
8. Have a proper device onboard to receive weather alerts.
9. Check to be sure you have the proper navigational charts onboard.
10. Check that the boat horn, whistles, and other means of sounding distress are in working order.
Since its inception in 2008, the "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" campaign, a program developed by New York Sea Grant in partnership with the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York, with support from marine industry representatives, has educated more than 500,000 boaters about how to be legal, safe and environmentally friendly on New York state waters.
The annual campaign features a different type of vessel provided by New York state manufacturers and dealers each year. The traveling exhibit equips the boats with all the required and recommended equipment for clean, safe and lawful boating on New York waters.
The 2014 "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" educational vessel is a two-seat "water mouse" just 10 feet long.
"I love that my little boat is traveling on a public service mission with New York Sea Grant," said Patti White of Pirate's Cove Marina and Resort on the Oneida River in Clay. She donated the use of the boat. "We need to encourage every boater to be safety conscious in any size boat."
The "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" campaign has steadily expanded its educational outreach to include anglers, duck hunters, pontoon boat and paddle sports enthusiasts, deaf boaters and, in 2014, New York's first responders, who handle water-related emergencies.
The "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" campaign also shares the North American Safe Boating campaign "Wear It!" message.
"A major component of the 'Discover Clean & Safe Boating' message is encouraging people to learn which type of lifejacket is right for them, and to wear it," said New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White.
The campaign also emphasizes the national "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Clean-Drain-Dry" message for removing aquatic debris that may contain invasive species.
" 'Clean, Drain, Dry' refers to easy-to-implement steps boaters can take whenever they launch their boats to help reduce the spread of invasive species that can impact boating venues and the coastal economies that thrive on marine-related activities,' White said.
A 12-foot, made-in-New York canoe from Marathon Boat Group of Marathon was added as a permanent educational vessel with the campaign in 2012.
The "Discover Clean & Safe Boating" campaign has been recognized as a model marine industry partnership program at four international marine industry conferences. White has received a BoatUS Foundation Environmental Leadership Commendation and a Coast Guard Auxiliary "Wear It!" Award for developing and implementing the campaign.
For more information, call New York Sea Grant at 315-312-3042 or www.nyseagrant.org.