Staying safe on the water this summer

Hampshire County

This is the first official weekend of summer and if the weather cooperates, plenty of people will be heading out on the water. Boaters have to exercise a lot of personal responsibility to protect themselves, their passengers and other boaters.

Every person who operates a watercraft must follow three basic rules to prevent collisions on the water.

  • Practice good seamanship
  • Keep a sharp lookout
  • And maintain a safe speed and distance

Luke Brunelle, the owner of Brunelle’s Marina, told 22News staying safe on the water is all about practicing common sense.

“It’s the same rules you would apply if you were driving,” said Brunelle.  

When a boat and jet ski encounter each other head-on, both vessels should keep to the right. But if a jet ski encounters a sailboat, the jet ski has to give way and avoid the slower-moving craft. 

Brunelle told 22News when environmental police aren’t around, the water can become chaotic. 

“We put cameras on the boat, because we are always afraid that someone is going to cut in front of ‘Lady B’ and they are going to fall off the jet ski, because of a big wave, whether they created it or someone else created it,” Brunelle added. “I mean we can only slow down so quick.”

Anyone on a boat under the age of 12 is required to wear a life jacket. It’s important to be aware of traffic and the water you’re navigating. Buoys and markers are the traffic signals that guide operators safely through waterways.

If you’re caught operating under the influence of alcohol on the water, you could be cited, possibly arrested, have your drivers license and vessel’s registration revoked for up to one year.

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