Boating Safety

Boating Safety

How to get a boating license in Georgia?

Phone: 1-800-366-2661
Retail License Vendor listing:

State Boating Guidelines

Always check the maximum capacity plate which indicates the maximum weight and number of people the vessel can carry safely.

Fueling safely:

  1. Never refuel at night, unless in an emergency. Use only electric lights if you must and refuel away from the water or on a commercial fueling ramp.
  2. Before fueling:
    • Dock the boat securely.
    • Passengers exit.
    • No smoking or striking matches
    • Turn off all engines, fans, or electrical equipment–anything that might cause a spark.
    • Shut off all fuel valves and extinguish all open flames, like galley stoves and pilot lights.
    • Close all windows, ports, doors, etc. to prevent fumes from entering the boat.
    • Remove portable fuel tanks and fill them on the dock.
  3. During fueling:
    1. Keep the fuel-pump hose nozzle in contact wit the tank opening to prevent any static sparks.
    2. Avoid spilling fuel into boat’s bilge or into the water.
    3. Never fill a tank to the brim, leave room.
    4. If your vessel is equipped with a power ventilation system, always turn it on for at least four minutes after fueling and before starting your engine to remove gas vapors in the bilge.
  4. After fueling:
    • Wipe up any spilled fuel
    • Open all windows, ports, doors, etc.

File a float pan with Hartwell Marina – This is a document that includes the vessel’s description, registration number, length, make, horsepower, and engine type. Give your intended route, planned departure time, and expected return time. Include the name, address, and telephone number of each person on board and an emergency contact.

To prevent collisions with other vessels, practice good seamanship, be observant, and maintain safe speeds and distances between your own vessel and others’.

Yield the right-of-way to vessels with limited maneuverability: anchored or disabled vessels, towing vessels, commercial fishing vessels, sailboats under sail.

Pre-Departure Checklist:

  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Make sure all steering, throttle controls, and lights operate properly.
  • Check for fuel leaks from the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor.
  • Check the engine compartment for oil leaks.
  • Check all hoses and connections for leaks or cracks, and make sure hose clamps are tight.
  • Drain all water from the engine compartment, and be sure the bilge plug is replaced and secure.
  • Check the batter to see if it’s fully charged.
  • Check fire extinguishers.
  • Make sure you have the required number of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and that they are in good condition.
  • Leave a float plan with a friend, family member, or Hartwell Marina.

Boating Hazards

At Lake Hartwell, all known boating hazards within the navigational channels are marked with signs or buoys. Boating hazards can include shoals, stumps, rocks, and downed trees. These can be exposed or lying just below the surface, creating a potential hazard for boaters, water skiers, and swimmers alike. Be especially cautious during the winter months and periods of droughts when lake water levels are lower and hazards may be even more numerous. It’s recommended that you stay within the clearly marked navigational channels. Iif you do venture outside them, be cautious because hazards are unmarked.

Adverse Weather

Boating Emergencies – Know how to prevent and safely respond to emergencies

  • Passengers should never sit on the gunwale, bow, seat backs, motor cover, or any other area not designated as seating.
  • When the boat is underway at greater than idle speed, passengers shouldn’t sit on pedestal seats.
  • Passengers shouldn’t stand up in or lean out from the boat.
  • When the boat is underway, passengers shouldn’t move about the boat.

If someone falls overboard,

  • Reduce speed and toss the victim a throwable PFD.
  • Turn the boat around and slowly pull alongside the victim.
  • Turn off the engine and pull the victim on board,

keeping the weight in the boat balanced. Preventing capsizing or swamping,

  • Balance the load in the boat; don’t overload it.
  • When turning, slow the boat.
  • Secure the anchor line to the bow, never to the stern.
  • Don’t go boating in bad weather or rough waters.

If your boat capsizes or you fall overboard,

  • Stay with the boat.
  • Try to reboard to get out of the cold water as much as possible.

If the boat sinks or floats away,

  • Remain calm.
  • If wearing a PFD, look for help.
  • If not wearing a PFD, look for one or for another buoyant item to use as a flotation device.
  • In cold water, float rather than tread.

Prevent Hypothermia

If the water is cold, wear several layers of clothing or wear a wetsuit or drysuit.

Be able to recognize symptoms of hypothermia: shivering and bluish lips and nails.

To reduce the effects of hypothermia,

  • wear a PFD
  • get your body out of the water, as much as possible
  • don’t take clothes off, they can insulate your body’s warmth
  • excess motion increases loss of body heat, so stay still and calm
  • draw your knees to your chest and arms to your sides
  • if others are in the water with you, huddle together with arms around each other’s shoulders

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, keep air flowing continually through the boat.