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MONTEREY LIFE

4 Tips for Safe Night Boating

Mon, Jul 06, 2015 at 2:35PM

When you’re enjoying a summer afternoon on your Monterey, sunset can really sneak up on you! Whether you are planning a nighttime party for friends and family, or just want to be prepared should you end up staying out beyond daylight hours, you can keep these tips in mind to make your nighttime boating safe and enjoyable.

Slow down. This is perhaps one of the most important tips when it comes to boating in the dark. Since you can’t see obstacles in front of you—such as buoys, structures, wildlife or other boaters—slowing down can help keep you and those around you safe. Some areas even have special speed limits for night boating, so be sure to follow them if posted.

Avoid diving and jumping in. Swimming at night isn’t always advised, especially since there is no lifeguard or other swimmers who can see you and help you should you need it. That being said, you want to especially avoid jumping and diving into the water at night. Even if you are familiar with the area, the darkness can obscure things you would ordinarily avoid such as rocks or wildlife just below the surface, or an unusually shallow patch of water. Boating at night is all about being cautious and aware of your surroundings.

Be smart about illumination. At nighttime, you need to have your boat’s lights on so that other boats can see you—even if you feel like you’re the only one on the water! However, when it comes to your on board lighting, avoid using bright white flashlights. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night and had to run to the bathroom or check your phone, you’ll understand why—that brightness can really shock your eyes and leave your vision compromised for a while after. This, of course, is something you have to avoid while boating at night. Instead, opt for flashlights with red beams that will light the way for you when you need it, but won’t give you the same shock white light does.

Use technology. You may love guiding your own way in the day time—and that’s okay, because you can rely on landmarks, wind and other boaters to help you. But at night, when you can’t easily observe your surroundings, turn to your phone, GPS or other device to help you navigate. As always, keep an eye on what’s right around you—even though the water may feel empty, there might be other likeminded boaters on the water with you.

Keep volume down. Keeping your on board music at a low volume is a good idea if you’re cruising through a residential area late at night when people are trying to sleep and unwind. But even if you’re on the open water, you may want to keep the volume down to help you be more alert and aware of your surroundings. Remember, during the daytime you can rely on both your eyes and ears to give you an idea of what’s around you. At night, this isn’t quite the case!

Avoid sudden maneuvers when you can. Finally, try to keep your movements slow and gradual, and avoid sudden turns or accelerating. This keeps everyone on board safe and comfortable, and also allows any other boaters on the water to navigate safely.

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