Boating Safety and Enjoyment Go Hand-in-Hand: You Can’t Have One Without the Other!
Each year we reprint and update this article because safety is so important. Please read thoroughly. At Skier’s Choice, we build Supra and Moomba boats to provide a safe and fun boating experience, but you play an important role in making your time on the water safe for you, your family, your passengers or anyone who may be in and around your boat. Please take time to review the following important safety reminders before you head to the water.
Review the Owner’s Manuals for your boat. Every Supra and Moomba originally comes with an Owner’s Manual for the boat itself and one or more manuals for the boat’s components. Before anyone operates your boat, they should first read and understand the information contained in the various manuals, particularly those sections dealing with safety. If you have misplaced any of the manuals, please contact your dealer or Skier’s Choice, and we will send you a current Owner’s Manual at no charge. It may not contain all information relevant to your model, but it does have an extensive Boating Safety section and general information regarding use and maintenance. Owner’s Manuals as far back as 1990 are available on our website.
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Review and comply with warning and capacity labels on your boat. Warning labels are placed on your boat to alert you to potential hazards that may not be obvious. They are divided into Caution, Warning and Danger categories. Danger means imminent danger of death or severe personal injury. Warning means a potentially hazardous situation which could lead to death or severe personal injury. Caution means a potentially hazardous circumstance or unsafe practices that could lead to moderate personal injury. Labels also tell you how to avoid the hazard. You should review the labels with your guests as appropriate. Warning labels should never be removed and, if any label is damaged, it should be replaced as soon as possible. Pay attention to the capacity label on your boat and never exceed the limit. Skier’s Choice regularly reviews safety information based on recent experience and data and makes label revisions as needed. Any revisions are posted to our website. If you need replacement warning labels, please contact your dealer or Skier’s Choice. We will gladly send the latest warning labels at no charge. Current warning labels can be viewed at our website.
Understand and follow the Boatman’s Checklist. The Boatman’s Checklist is a list of important items to check before each use of your boat. We place a checklist label on every boat we build. It can be found in the helm area, either near the throttle, or on the observer seat base, or in more recent models, inside the glove box. If you need a replacement label, please contact Skier’s Choice and we will send you one at no charge. This label can also be viewed on our website.
Prepare your boat with the proper accessories and equipment. Your boat comes from the factory already equipped with U.S. Coast Guard required safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, horn, and proper inland lighting. In addition, the law requires that you keep Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices on board for yourself and your passengers. We recommend that you also keep other useful safety equipment on the boat, such as a first aid kit, a signal device and/or flashlight, a cell phone, a marine radio, an anchor with line, and mooring lines with bumpers. You may need other items depending on your location, and you should check with local authorities and your dealer for further information.
Know your boat and keep it properly maintained. We strongly encourage you to arrange for a Supra/Moomba dealer to perform a pre-season inspection of your boat. The various boat systems need professional annual inspection and servicing to ensure that important components are maintained to their original specifications, especially as they age. You should inspect these systems with each outing, paying close attention to the engine and exhaust systems, specifically around the manifolds, gaskets, and welds for signs of leakage or corrosion. Replace all worn or suspect hoses and fittings. Perform scheduled maintenance and repairs to keep all systems in working order. For more information regarding maintenance, refer to your Owner’s Manual or talk to your service professional.
Know and comply with all boating rules and regulations that apply in your region. Before heading to the water, check with local and state authorities about boating and safety requirements. If you have access to the internet, most states have websites with information regarding boating rules and regulations. You can also check the U.S. Coast Guard website, listed below, for information on federal regulations and recreational boating safety. If you don’t have internet access, you can call the federal or state organizations to have information sent to you by mail.
Take a safe boating course. In recent years, more than 80% of all reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.(1) Safe boating classes are offered by various groups and organizations, including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Power Squadron. The more you know, the safer you, your passengers and others around you will be.
Stay current on recreational boating safety issues. You should regularly check with the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, as well as with your state boating law administrator for updates on boating safety issues. Internet links to several websites are listed on our Supra and Moomba websites. Watch for information in news and industry magazines and websites regarding dangerous boating and water sport activities. Always use good judgment and don’t let anyone on your boat do something foolish or dangerous.
Do not allow “platform dragging” or “body surfing” behind your boat! Two extremely dangerous water activities are “platform dragging”, also referred to as “teak surfing,” and “body surfing.” “Platform dragging” involves hanging onto the swim platform of the boat while it is in motion. “Body surfing” is lying prone on the water surface in close proximity to the transom or swim platform of a boat while the wake propels you along. Both are extremely dangerous water activities and are banned in most areas. They should not be permitted on your boat or anyone else’s boat! Individuals who “platform drag” or “body surf” are directly exposed to high concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) fumes in the engine’s exhaust. In addition, these people are very close to the spinning propeller underneath the boat, which can kill or seriously injure them if they slip or get pulled beneath the swim platform. For more information, go to the U.S. Coast Guard website.
Make sure every passenger is familiar with safe boating practices every time you go out. Each time you take people out on your boat, ask about their experience level and provide instruction about safety. Make sure they are familiar with the warning labels. Make sure everyone knows your expectations and complies with obvious customs, like sitting down while the boat is in motion. Once you are on the water, maintain a presence of mind and keep an eye on your passengers. Give particular attention to children, and make sure that they are wearing life jackets whenever they are on board your boat. As in any activity, children need to be reminded about boat safety and kept under close supervision. Always remember that it’s the driver’s responsibility to operate the boat in a manner that ensures the safety of the passengers and those around the boat.
Use common sense. Do not allow anyone on your boat to do something that puts them or anyone else at risk of injury. It is difficult to foresee every unsafe situation, but make yourself aware of unsafe practices and use common sense all the time. Most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that two thirds of boating fatalities are from drowning and that approximately 84% of victims who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. These same statistics also show that alcohol is involved with about 16% of all boating fatalities. In many states, there are laws against having an open container of alcohol on your boat. No matter what the circumstances are, you should be completely sober and not drink alcohol while boating.
Ride safely and know your limitations and the limitations of those with you. Your Supra or Moomba boat was built to meet and exceed performance expectation of water sports enthusiasts. Undoubtedly, you and those with you intend to use your boat for wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing and similar water sports purposes. Ride smart and obey safety guidelines such as the following: (1) Know the waterways where you will be boating. (2) Do not ride or ski in shallow water, near shore, docks, pilings, swimmers, or other watercraft. (3) Always have a person other than the driver serve as an observer and agree on hand signals before starting. (4) Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard type III vest. (5) Always keep in mind that individuals have varying skill levels and boating knowledge. (6) Ride within your limits. Always ride in control and at speeds appropriate for your ability and the conditions. We all like to try new tricks, but don’t go too far in trying something new. (7) Always turn the ignition off when anyone is near the swim platform or propeller. (8) Never drag a person behind a moving or running watercraft, and use long lines when pulling tubes. (9) Remember that being on the water and in the sun all day can be exhausting and can affect one’s judgment. Do not push yourself when you are tired. Be aware of the limitations of your passengers and be ready to call it a day at the right time. (10) Do not operate your boat, ride or ski under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may find these and other safety guidelines in various publications, online, or by contacting Skier’s Choice.
Please remember, boating safety and enjoyment go hand in hand – you cannot have one without the other.
(1) Coast Guard accident statistics can be found at www.uscgboating.org/statistics/accident_statistics.aspx
For further information visit these websites:
United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety:
United States Power Squadrons:
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators:
USA Water Ski:
National Safe Boating Counsel:
Boating Safety “Sidekicks” for children:
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