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6/29/2011 12:00:00 PM

With the start of summer, President and CEO John Dorton reminds MasterCraft boaters to be safe out on the water this season. Take the time to review all boating safety equipment, information and rules before you go out with your family and friends. Exercise common sense. The cause of many boating accidents is often the operator's failure to follow basic safety rules or written precautions. Always have a float plan available so everyone knows where you are at out on the water - be sure to share it! And of course, never operate your boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. John tells us, "As the captain of the boat, you are responsible for the crew". No matter your experience as captain behind the helm, it is always a good idea to remind yourself of best boating safety practices so everyone has a happy and healthy time out on the water this summer.

Safe boating starts with a thorough understanding of boat operations and laws. Federal law requires certain safety equipment to be on-board your boat at all times. Responsible boaters carry additional equipment in case of an emergency. It is your responsibility to check with your local boating authorities for any additional requirements and/or equipment over and above the federal requirements.

Here are the basics:

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs): Federal law requires at least one wearable Type I, II, III or Type V PFD for everyone on-board or being towed on water skis, wakeboards or other recreational equipment.

Fire Extinguisher(s): Federal law requires certain fire suppression safety equipment to be on-board your boat at all times.

Sound Producing Devices: Navigation rules require sound signals to be made under certain circumstances - get to know your horn!

Visual Distress Signals: All vessels on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas and those waters connected directly must have approved visual distress signals on-board.

Registration and Documentation: State and local waters require boat registration.

In addition to the review of your owner's manual, warning plates and labels, you should also be aware of the many boating safety resources available. The following is a listing of a few agencies and organizations that offer safety training and/or information:

U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard - Boating Safety Division

American Red Cross: American Red Cross

National Safe Boating Council: National Safe Boating Council Website

USA Water Ski Association: U.S.A. Water Ski Association Website - Be a Safe Boater!

See John Dorton's video message on the homepage or here on YouTube: Summer Safe Boating - A Message from John Dorton

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