Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Captain's Corner

HOT! HOT! HOT! - Yes, And Boating Season Is Here

Well, summer is finally here, we have temperatures well above 100 degrees on a daily basis. It is time to head to the lakes and rivers in the great State of Arizona.

Oh, but first —

Do you have the drain plug?

Where is the registration?

Is the tank full of gas?

Have you checked the oil?

When is the last time you started the boat?

Is the battery charged?

Will the boat perform all day at the lake or will you run into problems?

And, there are new laws on the books —

Who is holding the ski flag; they must be at least 12 years of age and competent enough to understand and hold the flag up in the appropriate manner.

And. what's this bug thing? Not bugs, but definitely pests, are the Quagga Mussels, an invasive species, and the new law states, "Clean, Drain and Dry."

Pull your drain plug at the lake. Don't travel with your drain plug in; pull it at the lake and leave it out. Your drain plug should never be in unless you are on the water.

This all seems like a lot to a reasonable person and yes, it is. When you own a boat, when you drive a boat, you have one simple task and that is to be responsible. Everyone in your boat and everyone you encounter on the lake — you are responsible for their safety and well being. We all want to go to the water and have a nice day or weekend with our family and friends but without being responsible, things can go wrong.

Stressors Are ‘Intoxicants’

The other new statistics out emphasize stressors on the water. The sun, the heat, the noise of the engine, moving across the water — these are all things that unconsciously cause stressors to affect your judgment and skill level. These have an effect that is almost like being intoxicated, and we all know that drinking and boating don't mix.

You get intoxicated three times faster on the water than you do on land, three to one. This is a proven fact. Now think about this for a minute. You are on the water for eight hours and you take a six pack of your favorite beverage. During that eight hours you have just consumed 18 cans of alcohol. You are now legally impaired.

“Oh, don't worry about that; I don't drink.” But, beware: You take a twelve-pack of your favorite soda, but do you know that the soda causes dehydration in these warm months? Once you start to dehydrate, now the stress factors kick in.

Inability not to think quickly, inattention, fatigue, poor judgment and you won't even know these things are happening until it is too late. These are all things to think about being a responsible boater.

The Right And Safe Things

It is very simple: Let's put some thought into these things that I have mentioned before we go to the lake. Talk to your family and friends, plan on having a safe day on the lake, not a tragic one. Let's get our friends and family into a boating class so they understand how these things affect us, become current on the laws, learn and understand that there is a difference between going to Saguaro Lake or going to Lake Havasu.

The difference is one is a state waterway; one is a federal waterway, both with a completely different set of regulations that you must know with which you must comply.

One of the things that we say in boating as professionals is "KNOW BEFORE YOU GO" — know your boat, your regulations and the waters that you are boating in and also know that what you are doing is the right thing and the safe thing.

Hope to see you in class or on the water; if you have any questions, visit Captain Dave at West Marine on Southern and McClintock in Tempe.


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