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New Year’s resolutions for local boaters

Happy New Year everyone! It’s 2006 and everywhere you look, people, from the famous to the unknown, are making New Year’s resolutions. As I write this column NBC’s Sunday Today program hosts Campbell Brown and Lester Holt are in the background talking about what they intend to do for the year. As usual there is some serious discussions intermingled with a little humor. They both looked at last year, then forward. Good stuff.

For boaters, the beginning of the New Year offers a chance to do some similar reflections on the previous year and a look ahead. Here are some suggestions on how to approach the New Year to make it your best ever.

First, look at what maintenance, both planned and emergent, you accomplished in 2005.

Has all the important required preventive maintenance or did you skip a few? Did you put off a tune-up? An oil change? Replacing the filters?

Ensuring the shafts are cleaned and free of debris?

If you don’t have a comprehensive maintenance schedule, using the manufacture’s recommendations for both the vessel itself and the engine, regardless of if it is an inboard or outboard. Both need maintenance to keep running smoothly especially during the spring and summer.

In 2005 did you check the flares, the fire extinguishers, and make sure that all the personal flotation devices were fully serviceable?

How about the radio and emergency communication system, were they checked and repaired or replaced as appropriate?

If your someone that has relied on a cell phone as your primary communications system – did you take my advice, from a previous column, and get a good VHF-system aboard, and make that cell phone a good backup system?

Third, in the world of education and training, did you take a Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron class? If you have a job or life style that could not support regular class attendance did you take a program on line? If you have not please consider taking one.

Finally, did you make sure that all your boating operations were friendly to the environment?

Just a few things to consider as the New Year begins….make it the best ever.

Until next week…Boat Safe, and Boat Smart!!

Joe DiRenzo III is a retired Coast Guard officer and former Cutter Commanding Officer. Currently a civilian employee with the Coast Guard he is a nationally published author on port and maritime security issues. He has written the boating course for just under five years.