Boating Distress Signals: The Basics

Jul 9, 2018 | Living On The Lake | 0 comments

The quiet lapping of the water against the hull. The warm sun slowly sinking below the horizon. Obsidian night peppered with brilliant twinkles of light. Whether you are filling your coolers with the best fish on the lake or taking a romantic evening cruise with your loved one, nothing beats spending time on Lake Travis.

But in order to bask in Lake Travis’s beauty, you must first prepare for your outing. Being aware of boating skills and safety is the best way to guarantee that your day or evening on the water is fun-filled and relaxing.

One if by land, two if by sea

The marker lights on a boat can be a powerful ally – if you know what they mean and if the other boaters are using them. Not only do they tell you which direction the other vessel is heading in, but with some practice you can also determine the types of boats near you by identifying the placement of their marker lights. From small craft to sport fishing yachts to sailboats, knowing what types of boats are on the water allows you to maneuver around them and share the water safely.

Boats aren’t the only things that light up at night. Channel markers and buoy lights will safely navigate you back to your slip.

Listen up

As a consequence of the digital age, Morse code is largely considered a dying language. It is essential for boaters to learn and understand, however. If you hear a blast from another boat…listen up! They are trying to tell you something important.

Flag on the play

Flags aren’t just for bad referee calls or challenges; marine flags signal everything from weather to divers in the water. Although the number and style of the flags can be difficult to memorize, waterproof cheat sheets are available and should be kept within reach at all times.

Just in case

When planning a day on the lake with family or friends, we never want to pull away from the dock worried about what could go wrong. The best time to consider the “what ifs …” is before you climb on board. A well-stocked emergency kit – which includes a hand held compass, extra life preserves, flags, and flares – should be the most important chest stored on your boat. If you’re not sure if your emergency gear is up to snuff, contact one of our ship stores for expert advice.

Most important

No matter the time of day or situation, never ever ignore a flare that has been sent up. Even if you’re not sure where it originated from, always get on the horn to the Coast Guard or the marina and tell them your position and the direction in which you saw the flare. And remember to never send up a flare in fun or celebration; the unwritten code of boaters is to never cry wolf and to never ignore a flare.


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