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Think of boating safety when lakes have thawed

Getting the boat in the water again still seems like a long way off, but spring will get here eventually. Eloyes Hill of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who lives near Detroit Lakes, Minn., recently shared this boating safety checklist from the a...

Getting the boat in the water again still seems like a long way off, but spring will get here eventually. Eloyes Hill of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who lives near Detroit Lakes, Minn., recently shared this boating safety checklist from the auxiliary's website. Boaters in Minnesota and North Dakota should check with their respective states for state-specific regulations, but this Coast Guard checklist is a good starting point when preparing the boat for another open-water season.

Equipment

• Personal papers; operator's certificate or license (if required) onboard, current.

• Boat's papers; registration or documentation certificate.

• Life jacket suitable for each person on board, readily accessible, in good condition.

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• Throwable flotation aid with line attached and immediately available.

• Fire extinguishers conveniently placed, fully charged, in good condition.

• Visual distress signals with current expiration dates.

• Horn or whistle working.

• Bell (if required) onboard.

• Anchor and anchor line appropriate to area, depth and conditions.

• Compass properly adjusted.

• Charts for the area, up to date.

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• Navigation tools -- GPS chart plotter.

• Boat hook, paddles.

• Mooring lines and fenders in good condition; tow line on board.

Boat

• Bilge free of fuel vapors and excess water; bilge pump functional.

• Fuel supply full.

• Fuel system free of leaks.

• Engine oil and transmission fluid levels correct.

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• Battery fully charged, fluid level full.

• Electronic gear in good condition.

• Engine drive belts tight, in good condition.

• All navigation lights working.

• Steering and shift mechanisms in good condition.

• Outboard motor mountings tight (if appropriate).

• Grab rails, swim ladder, life-lines in good condition.

For more information, contact the local USCG Auxiliary at uscgaux9130@live.com . Information on Minnesota boating regulations is available at mndnr.gov and North Dakota regulations are online at gf.nd.gov.

Related Topics: FISHING
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