Boat operators are responsible for
- The operation of the boat
- The safety of every passenger on board the boat
- Any activities that occur on the boat
- Practicing situational awareness at all times
- The safety of anyone who comes into contact with that boat, including the safety of other boaters on the water
As the boat operator, you are fully responsible for everything that happens on the boat.
Using Common Courtesy
Responsible boaters practice situational awareness at all times. Keep in mind what may irritate, frighten or disrupt the people around your boat. For example, you must control the boat’s noise level by ensuring that the boat has a proper muffler for the engine and not cranking up the volume of your music when you’re operating close to shore!
Be a courteous boater. This means that that you:
- Obey any wake restrictions.
- Never operate the boat too close to shore—swimmers, floating docks, shallow water and local hazards could be there.
- Obey posted speed limits—and if a limit is not posted, you always operate at a safe speed.
Operating Near Swimmers
Do not operate a motorized boat near swimmers. It is extremely dangerous and against the law. Always keep well away from designated swimming areas.
Staying Clear of Divers
Vessels and persons engaged in diving activities are required to display flags indicating their activities.
The boat from which divers are diving may display the blue and white Code Flag ‘A’ which indicates, ‘I have a diver down: keep well clear at slow speed.’ The Collision Regulations Rules 18 and 27 require that all operators take early and substantial action to steer well clear of any vessel that displays a Code Flag ‘A’.
A red and white diving flag (carried on the top of a white buoy) marks an area where diving is in progress. Always be sure to keep a lookout for and steer clear of diving flags.
Keep in mind that it is easy for divers to stray from the area marked by a diving buoy. Always exercise extreme care, slow down and avoid boating in waters frequented by divers.
Boat operators are responsible for the wake and wash that your boat produces and for obeying the ‘No Wake’ or ‘Limited Wake’ restrictions that some waterway areas will have in place. These restricted waterways might include narrow channels, swimming areas or fragile shorelines that are at risk of breaking away.
Wake: The ‘wake’ is created by the movement of your boat—the hull displaces the water that it travels through, leaving a ‘wake’ in its path.
Wash: The wash is the disrupted water that flows out from the stern of the boat and is caused by the motion of the propeller.
Reducing the effect of Wake and Wash
Your boat’s wake and wash can cause damage to the shoreline by crashing against it. Large wakes may also swamp smaller boats, putting them at risk of capsizing. You must understand the effect of your boat’s wake on the following:
- Swimmers and beach areas
- Shoreline erosion
- Smaller craft (such as fishing boats)
- Human-powered boats (such as canoes and kayaks)
- Areas of anchorage
- Other anchored or grounded boats
Adjust the speed of your craft to reduce the effects of wake and wash. Doing so will ensure that you avoid the risk of personal injury, shoreline erosion and damage to personal property.