Boats Safe In The Harbor
Now that you have decided to take up boating, whether it's power, or
sail, or manually propelled boats, there are some things you need to
know. You need to know these things not only to be safe on the
water, but to make it safer for all those others out there with you as
Boating is a lot of fun. Boating is also a means to other sports
such as fishing, diving, hunting, and water skiing. But boating can also
be dangerous at times and so you need to know what to do to maximize the
fun in boating while minimizing the risks. Every year there are
thousands of boating accidents, and about seven hundred fatalities.
In years past these numbers were much larger, but through a combination
of boating safety education, engineering safer boats, and enforcing
boating laws, the number of accidents and fatalities have decreased by
over 50% since 1972. This has been a combined effort of the
U. S. Coast Guard,
U. S. Coast Guard
Auxiliary, U. S.
Power Squadron, the boating authorities in each state (NASBLA),
the boating industry (NMMA),
the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC),
and a host of other boating groups dedicated to boating and to making it
safe for everyone.
Other countries such as Canada, Australia, the European Union, and Japan
all have similar programs to make boating safer for their citizens.
Boating is an international pastime and dates back hundreds of years.
In fact the term yacht comes from the Dutch word jacht, which was a
small fast boat used in Holland, several hundred years ago, and was soon
the choice of many for recreational sailing. Cleopatra had her barge,
and Kings and Queens have had their own boats, but this is no longer the
sport of royalty and the rich alone. It is enjoyed by millions around
the world. In the United States it is enjoyed by about 70 million
people of every income bracket, and every occupation. It truly is
a national recreational pastime.
Boating Safety Education: Basically there are
three types of training;
Formal Education: that is "book learning".
Classes, on-line courses, and books.
Practical Training: This is what we call
seamanship. How to handle your boat safely, how to maneuver it,
how to sail (if it's a sail boat) and how to deal with emergencies and weather. For those using large bodies of water,
navigation is an important part of this training. You can't just
rely on GPS. You need to know how to determine where you are, and
get yourself home safely without electronic aids.
Mechanical Training: Learning how your boat
works, and how to fix it. You may not want to work on
your boat, but in an emergency you will need to know how. You
can't just park it and walk away.
So I will begin with the basics:
nomenclature, boating terms, i.e.
the names of things. Why do you need to know this? Every
occupation or pastime has its' own language. The same is true of boats.
It goes way beyond learning the bow from the stern,
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