If you’re a boater or have enjoyed a day on the water, you know just how amazing it is. Sun, breeze, the smell of sunscreen, smiles, lasting memories. That is boating. But too often operators do not know they’re responsibilities as the skipper.

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As the boat operator you are responsible for the safety of your passengers and to maintain and operate your boat legally and safely. Be mindful that technology continues to vie for our attention and distracted boating is becoming increasingly a problem. And just like driving a car and texting, you shouldn’t be texting while operating. Just talk with your passengers and stress the importance of boater safety. And if you have to be stern, it just shows how passionate you are. It can’t be all fun and games if there are no rules. Arrrggghhh.



boat operator responsibility It’s the boat operator’s responsibility to know the rules of the road for your safety and everyone else’s. “A Boater’s Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boaters” is a great resource, download now from the U.S. Coast Guard. This is a must-read for all current and future skippers.

Also, it’s a good idea to have a plan, whether you have a specific destination in mind or just intend to cruise. Be sure to brief your passengers on routine and emergency responsibilities before you leave the dock.

  • Everybody wears a life jacket, all the time, no exceptions
  • Point out locations of fire extinguishers
  • Explain danger areas around the prop
  • Assign lookouts to help you drive the boat safely

Last, but certainly not least, save the alcohol for the shore. Of course, as the operator, you’re not drinking, but neither should your passengers.  Boats rock and people trip and fall. Let’s not make it worse.

Keep in mind, the more educated our boaters become, the safer the fun for everyone.


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Boating is serious fun. We’ve provided a variety of advocate tools and outreach methods, choose what works best for you and your community.

  • Visit spread the word for easy outreach through personal social media outlets and boating forums.
  • Provide year-round education on all boating safety topics – download pamphlets, flyers, banners, and posters. Great event materials. Search by topic in the resource section.
  • Download our marketing playbook, an advocates dream resource for creating change. Find it under the Boat Live 365 topic in our resource section.
  • Don’t know where to start?  Contact us. We’re happy to help.


*U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics, 2019


The International Boating and Water Safety Summit was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The IBWSS will be back stronger than ever in 2021 as a premier event for training, education, awareness and of course networking for professionals, volunteers, and anyone involved in boating and water safety. #IBWSS21

download icon, orange shaped like documentVisit our resource library for downloads, event materials, tips and ideas on how to create a safe boating culture 365 days a year.

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Download the official USCG Boating Safety App for 24/7 access to the most commonly requested information and resources for the recreational boating public.

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Learn your boat operator responsibility with an in person seminar or course. America’s Boating Club has a wide variety of learning opportunities for everyone.

To truly spread the Boat Live 365 message, please make a concerted effort to discuss and promote all of the “Serious Fun Topics” together, all year long.

Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Coast Guard.