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Local captain offers safety advice during National Safe Boating Week

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Posted at 3:38 PM, May 24, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. – May 22 – 28 is National Safe Boating Week.

Captain Al Motley of Sail Time shares some advice as the summer heats up with more boaters.

  • Check the weather and your vessel for seaworthiness. Ensure there is fuel, batteries are charged, and navigation lights are working
  • Designate an assistant skipper
  • Make proper use of lifejackets
  • Take a sailing course
  • Consider a free vessel safety check
  • File a float plan

“A float plan is just simply telling someone onshore when you’re leaving, where you’re going, who's with you, and when you’ll be back,” said Motley. "And that way if you fail to show up at the dock, somebody will go looking for you.”

A leading factor in fatal boating accidents is the use of alcohol.

“Last year’s data from the U.S. Coast Guard indicated more than 4,000 boating-related accidents, and of that, there were more than 600 recreational boating-related fatalities,” explained Motley. “More than 80% of the time, the operators of those boats involved in the fatality had no safety training.”

Motley works for Sail Time, which offers certified training classes through the American Sailing Association. He said they offer a variety of courses for beginners all the way to experienced sailors who want to hone their skills.

Apparently with COVID-19 and people trying to stay socially-distanced, boat sales have skyrocketed.

“The market is better than it has been in 13 years," Motley said. “The biggest problem we’ve had is not enough boats to allow people to go out and have fun out on the water.”

Boat sharing, also known as fractional boat ownership, can be a good way for someone to test the waters.

“I absolutely encourage somebody interested in boating but not quite sure yet to come down and take a class or two, and if they like it, become a member for a year. Really go out and experience the boat,” Motely added.

Related: Behind the scenes: Virginia Beach Police Marine Unit prepares for another busy boating season

For more information, on boating safety tips, click here.

And if you want to know more about boat sharing with Sail Time, click here.