To help boaters have even better boating experiences in 2006, the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water suggests these top ten New Year's resolutions that will make your boating safer, cleaner, and more rewarding for everyone aboard:
1. Don't let your loved ones be at the whim of spotty cell phone coverage - buy them a VHF radio. Handheld portable VHFs are affordable, easy to carry and don't require installation.
2. Save the alcohol for when you arrive safely back at the dock. Too many boating fatalities each year are alcohol related.
3. Get the right-sized life jacket for a child. Kid's lifejackets can be borrowed for free at over 350 Kids Life Jacket Loaner Program locations across the U.S. - go to BoatUS.com/Foundation and click on "Boating Safety Programs" for the location nearest you.
4. Give Mother Nature a break. Don't chase, harass or feed wildlife.
5. Leave no trace. When packing up your beach party at the end of the day, pick up one or more extra pieces of trash that you find and dispose of it properly.
6. Fuel up your boat without spilling a drop overboard this entire season and contain engine room drips and spills with bilge pads and socks. The cumulative effects of a drop here and there add up.
7. Set up separate trash and recycling containers aboard. A readily available disposal system helps everyone keep trash out of the water.
8. Give the ramp rookie a break. Be patient or offer to spot for those who have little experience backing down - you were once in their shoes, too.
9. Join a club that directly affects the body of water on which you boat. Do something with the group that makes your waterway better, safer or cleaner.
10. Make a donation to your favorite educational or marine conservation group. In doing so, you will make a positive difference for every boater in 2006 and gain a great sense of personal satisfaction.
The BoatU.S Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization funded by recreational boaters nationwide. For more information visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Foundation Happy New Year!