Sea Tow Offers Tips for Rafting Safety

Labor Day Weekend is a popular time for boaters to raft-up with friends in a scenic cove or near a sunny sandbar. The boats are tied up side-to-side so owners and their guests can walk from deck to deck to visit, swim and party with their peers. Some raft-ups can grow to more than two-dozen boats long. But boaters should take certain precautions to keep everyone safe.

Here are 10 tips boaters should keep in mind while rafting-up over the long weekend:

  1. Choose your raft-up spot carefully. Pick an area that is sheltered from the wind and waves. Stay clear of navigation channels and cruising lanes.
  2. The first boat in the raft-up should position itself with the whole group in mind, and set both a bow and stern anchor.
  3. When approaching the raft-up, have fenders and lines ready. Tell passengers to keep their arms and legs inside the boat at all times. Approach the raft-up slowly. Tie up to one of the end boats using bow and stern lines.
  4. Stagger the boats. Position them so each one is slightly ahead of or behind the boat next to it. This will keep rigging from touching if the boats are rocked by a wake.
  5. Boaters who can’t stay long should tie up on the outside of the raft-up to facilitate their departure.
  6. Turn off your boat’s engine to eliminate the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, and so your prop won’t be turning with people in the water.
  7. Exercise common courtesy. Ask a boat owner for permission before boarding his or her boat, even if you are just crossing their deck or platform.
  8. Designate a Sober Skipper for the trip home. Pack plenty of water and juice for hydration.
  9. Even in hot weather, children should wear life jackets. This will keep them safe, particularly when walking from boat to boat or swimming off the raft-up.
  10. 10. Appoint weather watchers for the whole group. Ask them to listen to the radio and check their smartphones’ Sea Tow App’s Weather/Radar function for possible storm activity in the area. To download the free Sea Tow App to your iPhone or Android smartphone, visit www.seatow.com/app.

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