Tips to Avoid a Disabled BoaOn the water, minor problems can rapidly develop into a situation beyond your control. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to understand the factors that could cause a problem on the water, as well as how to prevent problems before they happen.

Before You Go

  • Preventative is the Best Maintenance – Never cut corners on preventative maintenance.  A good mechanic who can keep your boat in top working condition is priceless – factor regular maintenance into your operating budget, no exceptions. Always have your boat checked if you are going out after a period of non-use.
  •  Inventory your Safety – Keep a list of the safety gear you have on-board as well as a record of the expiration dates. Run through the list at least once a year to make sure everything is still accounted for and is in good working condition.
  • Don’t Put Off to Tomorrow – After a long day on the water, you may be tempted to procrastinate on hosing down your boat, cleaning out the garbage, flushing out the engine or attaching covers. It will help to keep the boat free of debris and keep it running smoothly.
  • Fair Weather Friendly – It goes without saying, but check and recheck the weather before you go out.
  • Leave a Trail – Make sure that you log a float plan, and that someone on land knows where you are headed, and when you plan to be back.

If Things Go Wrong:

  • Hold Fast – Drop anchor if you are in danger of drifting into rocks, or other dangerous areas. If the area is crowded, make sure to alert other boaters.
  • Running on Empty – Check your gas. Might seem silly, but it happens more than people realize.
  • Heads Up – Ask someone to keep an eye out on the surroundings while you check the basics; the kill switch, water in the bilge, check all gauges.
  • Who to Call – If you and your passengers are in immediate danger, call the Coast Guard. If not, tow services can be notified.

If you are having trouble out on the water, even relatively minor difficulties, always let someone know before your situation turns into an emergency. Sign and Glide members should not hesitate to call for assistance, saving you time and money!