| Unusually warm weather here in Portsmouth, Virginia, may make some|
forget that cold waters still lurk beneath the keel.
Refresh your memory: Take a boating safety course now from the comfort of your own home. We recommend the no-cost BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety course, which is designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time, includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as flares, shows the rules of the road, how to get help in an emergency, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out. Go to BoatUS online boat safety course. It may also help you save money on boat insurance and meet your state's requirements for boating safety education.
Don't allow the warm weather to let your guard down: The air temperatures may be downright balmy, but deceptively cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia even on a "T-shirt" day. Also remember there are fewer boats out on the water that could come to your aid. Bring extra layers or change of clothes and rain gear this time of year. Remember, water conducts heat away from your body 25 times faster than air does, so you cool much more rapidly in water!
Plan on how to get back in the boat: If you accidentally went overboard, do you have a way to get back aboard? You may be surprised how hard this can be - especially if you are alone or haven't prepared for it. It could be as simple as having a rope with looped foot holds affixed to a cleat that can easily be grabbed from the water. The BoatUS Foundation also tested after-market boarding ladders for small jonboats, RIBs and larger center console boats. You can view these tests at BoatUS market tests. A hardcopy of the tests along with a ranking of the best ladders can also be found at BoatUS.com/foundation/boardingladders.
Have something to share? We'd love to add your comments. Just write in the box below.