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In Partnership with US Powerboating and Rental Boat Safety


Boating Safety


Like driving a car, driving a boat has its own set of road rules to ensure everyone can enjoy being on the water safely. This short video will give you a basic introduction to some of the safety considerations.

Please be advised that the videos and all information contained on this webpage are no replacement for a US Coast Guard Approved Boater Safety Certification. We recommend that any Person In Command (PIC) of a boat have a US Coast Guard approved Boater Safety Certification before you leave the dock.


The Awareness Zone is the area in the water immediately around the boat. The Person In Command (PIC) of your boat is responsible for ensuring that no passengers are in the Awareness Zone UNLESS:

  • The boat motor is turned off.
  • The boat has stopped moving.
  • The ignition keys are removed.
  • The PIC has waited 10 seconds to ensure the propeller has completely stopped moving.

Remember, passengers are strictly prohibited from riding on the bow, transom, swim platform, and gunnels while the boat is moving.

Prop clear logo


PropClear ™ is an initiative developed by Suntex Marinas to help boaters create a safer boating experience. PropClear ™ reminds customers to double check their surroundings before starting their boat motors with three simple steps:


STEP 1: Captain or person in command (PIC) of vessel is responsible for taking headcount to verify all passengers are on board.

STEP 2: Captain or PIC will check all sides of vessel for swimmers, obstructions, and all other hazards and also verify any anchor or boat stabilization equipment has been placed back on board the boat.

STEP 3: Once clear from all hazards, Captain or PIC will shout, “PROP CLEAR”, wait 5 seconds, then proceed to start engine.

Prop clear logo


Negligent boat operation is the basic cause of nearly all accidents. This 1-minute video will explain some simple rules to safe boat operation. In addition, here are a few tips:

  • All children and infants must wear a life jacket at all times.
  • Passengers are prohibited from riding on the bow, transom, seatbacks, or gunnels while the motor is on and the boat is in motion.
  • Turn the engine OFF before any passengers get in the water, in the Awareness Zone.
  • Double-check that all passengers are onboard the boat before starting the engine.
  • Don’t drink and boat. Assign a designated driver. Boating While Intoxicated is a Class B Misdemeanor.


Are there enough life jackets on your boat for every passenger onboard? Children and infants should wear a life jacket at all times. It is strongly recommended that adults wear a life jacket at all times too. Ask your dock hand to help you make sure everyone has a properly fitted life jacket before leaving the dock.


Whenever you have a Person Overboard situation, it’s important that all passengers onboard are aware of the procedure to retrieve the POB. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this situation:

  1. Immediately reduce the speed of your boat.
  2. Have one passenger immediately throw a floatation device towards the POB.
    1. Even if the POB has on a life jacket, the additional floatation device will help keep the POB afloat.
  3. Have one passenger onboard continuously point to, and keep visual contact with the POB.
  4. Be certain the engine is OFF before the POB attempts reboarding the boat.


Tow sports, like tubing, wakeboarding, and water skiing, to name a few, are a fun way to enjoy your time on the water! Here are some tips to help you have a fun, safe time on the water:

  • Each person engaged in tow sports should wear a properly fitted life jacket.
  • A minimum of 3 people is required for tow sports – one person being towed, one person to drive the boat, and one person to spot the person being towed.
  • The boat operator should pay close attention to where they are driving – this is why having a spotter is critical for safe tow sports.
  • Always make sure that no one is near the propeller, front, or sides of the boat before you start the motor – and always make sure the motor is off before re-boarding the boat from the water.


There are many navigation rules to ensure the safe operation of a boat. Here are a few navigation rules to help guide your day on the water. Remember, a US Coast Guard Certification is the best way to familiarize yourself with all navigation rules.

  • If another boat is coming at you head on, always turn to the right.
  • If passing another boat, slow your speed and pass on the left, leaving plenty of room between the two boats.
  • Always yield to boats not under power, like sailboats and kayaks.
  • Always stay clear of commercial and working boats.

Remember, if you think you are headed for a collision, it is the responsibility of the boat operator, or Person In Command, to slow down, steer away, or stop.