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Know Before You Go - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


  • pg 1
									Prepare for safe boating in Wisconsin.
                                                 Boater education
 1. Failure to provide an adequate
    number of life jackets                       is mandatory
 2. Personal watercraft violations
 3. Operating a boat without a valid
    certificate of number (begins
                                                 in Wisconsin
    with “WS”)
 4. Local ordinance violations
 5. Operating a motorboat while
    under the influence
 6. Operating a boat in excess                  It is estimated that over
    of the speed limit or in a                  one million boats ta ke to
    prohibited area                             Wisconsin waters each
                                                year ma king courtesy,
 7. Operating a boat at night                   safety and ed ucation
    without the required lights                 important issues for
 8. Operating a boat that is towing
    a water-skier without a required

                                                        oating is a major Wiscon-       to boating and environmental factors.
 9. Failure to display proper                           sin recreational activity as       Incompetent boaters also cause
    registration                                        well as a significant part of   more severe accidents. The National
10. Failure to have certificate of                      the state’s economy and         Transportation Safety Board reports
    number on board (plastic                tourism industry. In Wisconsin, the         boating fatalities are second only to
    card titled “Wisconsin Boat             number of motorboat registrations           highway fatalities and more than 80
    Registration Certificate”)              has increased by over 15 percent            percent of recreational boat opera-
     — Source: Wisconsin DNR                since 1996. Department of Natural           tors involved in fatal boating acci-
                                            Resources surveys indicate that an          dents have not taken any type of
                                            average of 36 percent of Wisconsin          boater education course. An un-
WHEN TO CALL                                citizens participate in boating each        trained boater would likely not know
                                            year and this level of participation is     the proper steps to take in a life-
Boat accidents must be reported im-         expected to continue.                       threatening situation, such as cap-
mediately to a conservation warden or          “But safe boating is a critical part     sizing, a fall, fire, sinking, flooding or
other law enforcement officer if the ac-    of a pleasant on-the-water experience       collision.
cident (regardless of the number of         and safe boating starts before you             In 2007, 18 people died in 122 re-
boats involved) results in loss of life,    launch,” explains Roy Zellmer, DNR          ported boat accidents on Wisconsin
injury that requires medical treatment      Boating Law Administrator. In fact,         waters. Five deaths were the result
beyond first aid, boat or property dam-     as a result of 2007 legislation, boat-      of impact/trauma/injuries with the
age in excess of $2,000 or complete         ing education is now mandatory in           remaining 13 a result of drowning.
loss of a boat.                             Wisconsin for motorboat operators.          Eleven of the 13 drowning deaths
   To report a boating accident or other       The law: Wisconsin boating safety        were due to the boat capsizing or
violation, call 1-800-TIP-WDNR (1-800-      certification or an out-of-state equiva-    falls overboard. Failure to wear a life
847-9367).                                  lent certification is required for opera-   jacket or wear it correctly con-
   In addition, within 10 days of the ac-   tors born on or after January 1, 1989.      tributed to all but one of the drown-
cident, the operator must submit a writ-    Operators 12 to 15 years of age must        ing deaths. Alcohol was a contribut-
ten report on Form 4100-20 (Operator        either have a certificate or have an        ing factor in one third of the fatal
Boating Incident Report Form) to the De-    adult on board while operating. Any-        boating incidents.
partment of Natural Resources. If you
                                            one 10 years of age or older is eligible       Zellmer asks you to start the sea-
are unable to download the form from
                                            to take the class and receive a safety      son on a safe note and boat smart.
the DNR website (
                                            education completion certificate. The       The DNR offers boater safety courses
enforcement/docs/4100020.pdf), forms
                                            certificate does not become valid until     in cooperation with schools, private
are also available from DNR offices,
                                            the child reaches 12 years of age.          clubs and organizations. In 2007,
sheriffs’ departments and many local
police departments. Mail completed             Statistics bear out what logic sug-      5,405 students were certified in 299
forms to:                                   gests — boater education prevents ac-       classes. Another 2,627 were certified
                                            cidents and saves lives. Of the ap-         by completing an Internet boat safety
    WI Department of Natural Resources
                                            proximately 7,700 accidents reported        course.
    Boating Program - LE/5
                                            each year, the U.S. Coast Guard                The new boating education rule in
    P.O. Box 7921
                                            found that nearly 70 percent are            Wisconsin also allows boat rental
    Madison, WI 53707-7921
                                            caused by operator error as opposed         businesses to provide the minimum
2   Know before you go
                                                                            5. Boat accidents, emergency mea-                         Do your part to
                                                                               sures, aquatic safety, alcohol
                                                                               usage, visual distress signals, fire                   stop the spread.
                                                                               on board and first aid.                                Clean boats mean clean waters. The
                                                                               An online boating safety course is                     DNR reminds you to take these steps
                                                                            also available. To register visit www.                    to prevent the spread of invasive
                                                                   This on-                        species every time you leave a launch:
                                                                            line instruction is not recommended                       • Inspect your boat, trailer and equip-
                                                                            for children under 14 years of age.                         ment and remove visible aquatic
                                                                                                                                        plants, animals and mud.
                                                                            Be boat ready
                                            NATIONAL SAFE BOATING COUNCIL
                                                                                                                                      • Drain water from your boat, motor,
                                                                            It’s also time to conduct your annual                       bilge, live wells and bait containers.
                                                                            boat maintenance and make certain
                                                                            your registration is up to date and                       • Dispose of leftover bait in the trash,
                                                                            that the current year sticker is dis-                       not in the water or on land.
                                                                            played. Here are a few other items to                     • Wash your boat and equipment
                                                                            add to your boat check-up:                                  with high pressure or hot water, or
                                                                                Do trailer maintenance. Clean                           let it dry for five days before head-
                                                                            and check for rust. Tighten bolts.                          ing to another waterbody.
basic training required for people who                                      Check trailer hitches, safety chains,
will be operating a motorboat which                                         rollers and pads. Check tire pres-                                            Visit
they have rented or leased. The mini-                                       sure and tire tread. Keep the tires                                           invasives/ to learn
                                                                                                                                                          more about what
mum age to be eligible for a temporary                                      and your spare inflated to the pres-
                                                                                                                                                          you can do to
boater education training and certifi-                                      sure indicated on the sidewall and                                            keep Wisconsin
cate is 16 years of age, and the certifi-                                   inspect the tires for signs of wear.                                          waterways clean
cation only applies to the operation of                                     Check the safety chains from the car                                          and prevent the
                                                                                                                                                          spread of invasive
boats that are rented or leased by the                                      to the trailer and from the winch to
holder of the certificate. Motorboat                                        the boat.
rental businesses will be required to                                           For both trailer and boat, check
collect a $10 fee for the temporary                                         electrical systems to make sure all
boating education course and issu-                                          lights are in working order. Charge
ance of the certificate.                                                    up those batteries.
                                                                                Inspect the boat. Check the hull,
On course                                                                   pulleys, carpeting and fittings.
                                                                            Grease pulleys and check them for
There is at least one boater educa-
                                                                            signs of wear. Check and lubricate
tion course held per county per
                                                                            steering cables. Move on to the
year. Boating safety classes are
                                                                            electrical conduits, live well, com-
mostly offered in March, April, May
                                                                            partments, chairs, benches, tran-
and June. Visit
                                                                            som and the motor. Get your motor
                                                                            tuned-up for the season.
to check latest availability. Course
                                                                                Check all your lines including the
cost is $10 and content includes in-
                                                                            anchor ropes. Replace if frayed.
struction in:
                                                                                Inspect the fuel lines for wear and
1. Boats, classification of boats, hull                                     cracks. Install a fresh fuel filter. In-
   designs and motors.                                                      spect your fuel tanks and cap vents.
2. Legal requirements, including reg-                                           Check your safety equipment in-
   istration and equipment require-                                         cluding the number of life jackets on
   ments.                                                                   board, and make sure the fire extin-
3. Navigation rules, basic safety reg-                                      guisher, flare kit, flashlights and
   ulations and waterway marking                                            first aid kit are up to snuff.
   systems.                                                                     Check the vehicle you will be
4. Getting underway, preparation,                                           using to tow the trailer and boat. In-
   loading, boarding, cruising, dock-                                       spect the ball and hitch assembly
   ing, anchoring, knots, trailering,                                       and make sure the brakes on your
   courtesy and maintenance.                                                vehicle are in good shape.
                                                                                                                       ROBERT QUEEN

For state boating law information, call Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources, at 1-888-936-7463, or visit
                                                                                                                                                      Know before you go     3
  Even if you have taken a boater education course it helps to brush up on these important boating
  safety tips before your season on the water begins.

   1. Carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard              8. Check the boat landing for local regulations.   15. Make certain your registration is up to
      (USCG) approved life jacket of the proper                                                                date and that the current year’s sticker is
      size and type for each boat occupant.
                                                       9. If boating on the Great Lakes or Mississippi         displayed. Carry your registration card on
                                                           River, review the federal regulations for
       Serviceable jackets and vests have no                                                                   board with you.
                                                           additional requirements.
      tears, rips, broken straps or snaps.
      Squeeze kapok life jackets to check that        10. Ventilate tank after refueling. Open all        16. Practice good boat launch etiquette.
      they are pliable and are free of punctures           hatches and run the blower. Sniff for fumes    17. Practice loading and unloading on a day
      in the inner plastic liner. And remember:            before starting the engine and do not start         that isn’t too busy at the ramp.
      all life jackets must be ready at hand and           the engine until the air smells clean.
      not enclosed in plastic bags or locked
                                                                                                          18. Remove boat covers and straps before you
      compartments. Better yet, just wear one
                                                      11. Learn proper anchoring procedures.                   get in line to launch.
                                                           Improper anchoring causes many fatal
      every time you go boating.
                                                                                                          19. Load equipment into the boat before you
                                                                                                               reach the ramp. Make sure all equipment
   2. Boats 16 feet and over must also carry
      one USCG-approved throwable life jacket
                                                      12. Never consume alcohol or drugs before                is working and that the drain/boat plug
                                                           or during boat operation. Wisconsin law             is in.
      (Type IV).
                                                           states that a person is considered to be
   3. If your boat has enclosed compartments               operating a vessel under the influence of
                                                                                                          20. Once in line to launch, have a person
                                                                                                               available to hold the bow line and assist
      or a false floor, you must carry a USCG-             alcohol or drugs if he or she:
                                                                                                               in boat handling at the pier.
      approved fire extinguisher. Make sure that
                                                           ❍ Has a blood or breath alcohol concen-
      it is charged and accessible.
                                                             tration of 0.08 percent or greater or...
                                                                                                          21. Have one person drive the boat off the
                                                                                                               trailer and out of the way of other boaters
   4. Test your boat lights before the boat leaves
                                                           ❍ Is under the influence of any controlled          while another person is parking the tow
      the dock. If you use battery-operated
                                                             substance or any other unprescribed               vehicle.
      lights, always carry extra batteries. Keep
                                                             drug, or any combination of alcohol,
      in mind that even if you plan to be back
                                                             controlled substance or drugs that
                                                                                                          22. When leaving a boat launch, maintain
      before dark, an equipment malfunction or                                                                 slow-no-wake speed for a safe and legal
                                                             renders that person incapable of
      bad weather may change your plans.                                                                       distance from the boat launch.
                                                             operating safely.
   5. Be weather wise. Sudden wind shifts,                                                                23. If bad weather is approaching, get off the
      lightning flashes and choppy water all can
                                                      13. If you loan your boat or personal watercraft         water early to avoid a long waiting line.
                                                           to someone, teach them how to operate
      mean a storm is brewing. Bring along a
      radio and keep a close eye on the weather.
                                                           it. If you share the boat — share the          24. Drop one person off at the pier to get the
                                                           knowledge!                                          tow vehicle and then get in line.
   6. Bring emergency supplies: maps, flares
      and a first aid kit. Keep them in a floatable
                                                      14. Never allow passengers to ride on               25. Once loaded, pull well away from the
                                                           gunwales or seatbacks or outside of                 launch area before securing the boat for
                                                           protective railings, including the front            travelling purposes.
   7. Tell someone where you are going and                 of a pontoon boat. A sudden turn, stop
      when you will return. Bring a cell phone.            or start could cause a fall overboard.

Boating safety programs benefit                                                                                                         A product of
An increase in registration fees helps fund the programs.                                                                                 Natural Resources

      ees charged by the Department of Natural Resources for original boat registration and renewal increased effec-                      magazine
      tive October 30, 2007. The fee increase is expected to generate approximately $330,000 in 2007-2008 and                           Cover photo courtesy
      $870,000 in 2008-2009. Boat registration fees are used to administer boat registration and titling, and operate the                 of National Safe
boating safety and enforcement prog rams. The costs of the title fee, t ransfer fee and replacement of                                    Boating Council
titles, expiration decals and certificate of number cards have not changed.
                                                                                                                                        Written by
    “For example, original registration of a motorized boat 16 to 26 feet in length has increased from $29 to $33 and re-
                                                                                                                                         Natasha Kassulke
newal of that size boat increased from $24 to $28,” said Diane Brookbank, director of DNR’s Customer Service and
Licensing bureau.                                                                                                                       Designed by
    The registration instruction form and application form can be found at                          Waldbillig &
boatingregis.htm.                                                                                                                         Besteman
    Boat owners can also renew their registration online 24 hours a day, seven days a week using their credit card.                     Publication number
Boat owners can then print the validation receipt that will allow them to operate their boats while they wait for                         LE-325-2008
their new registration certificate and decals.

4 Know before you go

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