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What are some basic speed tips for boaters?

Karns & Kerrison

Staying safe on Rhode Island roadways means being aware of basic safety rules. It is your responsibility to ensure you take all safety precautions when you take a boat onto waterways. It not only will protect you and your passengers but also everyone else out on the water. One area where you should have a good understanding is speed and knowing what speed to go safely. 

The American Boating Association notes boat speed is closely related to visibility. Choosing what a safe speed is depends on how well you can see and what the conditions are around you. You should always assess the area before you leave the dock. Check for fog, water conditions and other people in the area.

It is important to base your speed on your ability to control and handle your boat according to the conditions of the waterway. For example, if visibility is low, you need to go slower so you can easily navigate around obstacles you may come across. If the water is choppy or it is very windy, then you need to adjust your speed so you can stay in control of your boat. In crowded waters, you need to adjust so you do not hit others. 

You also need to assess the waterway itself. Watch for narrow areas where you may need to slow down to avoid an accident. Also be aware of shallow bottoms where you could get stuck. 

Going safe speeds on waterways protects you and everyone else. Trying to speed in an area where conditions are not appropriate could lead to serious accidents. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 


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