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Boating safety reminders: rules of the water

Every boat operator has the obligation to take whatever action is necessary to avoid an accident.

  • File a Float Plan: Document essential information or fill out a form about your excursion and leave it with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) or another rescue organization, should you not return as scheduled. (Do not file float plan with the USCG.)
  • Passing:When one vessel overtakes another going in the same direction, the craft being overtaken must maintain course and speed, and the passing vessel must keep a sufficient distance to avoid collision or endangering the other craft from its wake.
  • Report Boating Accidents: Boating accidents that occur on public waters must be reported to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (24-hour toll free at 800-662-7137) when any one of the following occur:
    – Loss of life, an injury requiring medical treatment or a person is unconscious or left disabled for 24 hours
    – Actual physical damage to property (including vessels) is in excess of $2,000
    – A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury.

Vessel registrations in North Carolina have increased 10 percent since January. With more boaters on the water this summer and fall, safety is imperative. When wakeboarding, please follow these recommendations to “wake responsibly” and help create an environment everyone on the water can enjoy:

  • Stay at least 200 feet away from the shoreline, docks or other structures.
  • Keep music at reasonable levels. Sound travels well over water. If it is loud enough to hear at 80 feet back, it is likely loud enough for homeowners and others to hear as well.
  • Minimize repetitive passes on any one portion of the shoreline. Once you’ve run the same line for a while, move on to another area.