Thousands of islanders will take to the water for the Cup Match holiday.
Whether it’s the beach, a boat trip, fishing, snorkelling or the Non-Mariners raft-up, everyone looks forward to a fun-filled four days of rest and relaxation.
But amid the celebrations it’s important not to let your guard down and to remember to put safety first.
Even a fun, leisurely boat trip or a simple swim can end badly unless you take precautions.
Follow these tips from the Bermuda Water Safety Council and Government of Bermuda to make sure you enjoy an incident and stress -free holiday.
On the beach
- Ensure close supervision of children, keeping them within your sight and reach.
- Never let children swim alone or play unsupervised with inflatable toys. Prohibit them from diving from heights.
- Obey safety signs and lifeguards’ advice.
- Never swim alone, always go with a buddy.
- Never swim when you are cold or tired, and know your limits.
- Stay out of the water if Portuguese Man o’ War or other jellyfish are spotted.
- If in any doubt about you and your family’s safety in the water, stay out.
- Before casting off, check the weather forecast a day in advance and monitor forecasts by Bermuda Radio (Channel 27 VHF). Or see Channel 11 on cable TV or dial 977 on the telephone.
- Create a float plan from the point of leaving the dock to the time you return.
- Make sure your equipment is in good working order (ie. engine, radio, bilge pumps, steering) and that you have enough fuel.
- Ensure all safety requirements are aboard.
- Inform Bermuda Radio before leaving the dock, via 16 VHF or call 297-1010.
- Be aware of shallows and reefs which can appear as dark brown patches.
- Keep to the starboard (right) in all channels.
- No vessels — including Jet Skis — may exceed five knots (9.2 km/h) within 100 metres of the shoreline or any moored or anchored vessel, or people in the water.
- Reduce speed to a dead slow when passing docks, bays and congested areas.
- Speed limit exceptions: Two Rock Passage; Head of the Lane Passage; Town Cut Channel; Ferry Reach (from the sea to the Airfield Landing light pylons approaching from the west); and Western Hogfish Channel from Dockyard to the sea, except the section west of Mangrove Bay between the Quintons and Gray’s Point.
- Recreational craft must avoid making a wake which can cause danger or damage to other vessels, structures or people.
- Reduce or no wake while anyone has any part of their body over the bow or sides of a powerboat, or within 100 metres of another vessel or person in the water.
- Sitting on the bow is illegal.
Water skiing, towing and similar activities
- Any vessel towing a waterskier, boat, wakeboard or other device must have someone as a lookout.
- People being towed must wear a PFD (personal flotation device), and all activities must be 200 feet from the shoreline.
- Water skiing and similar activities are not permitted from sunset to sunrise.
- While anchoring, keep well clear of wharves (docks) and jetties and their approaches. Find a clear area, free of boats, reefs and electrical cables.
- Skippers must ensure they anchor so that they do not cause a hazard by swinging into other anchored craft, or by dragging.
- Moorings usually have pick-up buoys attached, which someone should retrieve with a boat hook, then securing the line to the up-chain or cleat the up-chain directly to the boat.
- Approach the dock very slowly upwind, letting the boat’s momentum carry you forward.
- To safely tether the boat, bow, stern and spring lines should be used.
- Do not smoke and turn the engines off.
- Make sure the tanks and decks around the engine are kept clean and dry.
- Maintain constant attendance of the fuel pumps to limit fuel spillage.
- Make metal to metal contact with nozzle and tank orifice to prevent static sparks.
- Clean all spills. Ventilate the engine compartment for five minutes to circulate air before starting the engine.
- Any vessel where diving activities are taking place must display code flag A so that it can be clearly seen from 200 metres.
- Boaters must not create a wake or travel at a speed in excess of five knots if they are within 100 metres of a dive vessel.
For more information contact the Bermuda Water Safety Council at 295-6575
or e-mail email@example.com. Websites www.wsc.bm and www.gov.bm.
Cup Match Companion 2012