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Boating Safety

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Rental Boat Safety

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Houseboat Safety

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Like driving a car, driving a boat has its own set of road rules to ensure everyone can enjoy being on the water safely. This short video will give you a basic introduction to some of the safety considerations.

Please be advised that the videos and all information contained on this webpage are no replacement for a US Coast Guard Approved Boater Safety Certification. We recommend that any Person In Command (PIC) of a boat have a US Coast Guard approved Boater Safety Certification before you leave the dock.


The Awareness Zone is the area in the water immediately around the boat. The Person In Command (PIC) of your boat is responsible for ensuring that no passengers are in the Awareness Zone UNLESS:

  • The boat motor is turned off.
  • The boat has stopped moving.
  • The ignition keys are removed.
  • The PIC has waited 10 seconds to ensure the propeller has completely stopped moving.

Remember, passengers are strictly prohibited from riding on the bow, transom, swim platform, and gunnels while the boat is moving.


PropClear ™ is an initiative developed by Suntex Marinas to help boaters create a safer boating experience. PropClear ™ reminds customers to double check their surroundings before starting their boat motors with three simple steps:


STEP 1: Captain or person in command (PIC) of vessel is responsible for taking headcount to verify all passengers are on board.

STEP 2: Captain or PIC will check all sides of vessel for swimmers, obstructions, and all other hazards and also verify any anchor or boat stabilization equipment has been placed back on board the boat.

STEP 3: Once clear from all hazards, Captain or PIC will shout, “PROP CLEAR”, wait 5 seconds, then proceed to start engine.


Negligent boat operation is the basic cause of nearly all accidents. This 1-minute video will explain some simple rules to safe boat operation. In addition, here are a few tips:

  • All children and infants must wear a life jacket at all times.
  • Passengers are prohibited from riding on the bow, transom, seatbacks, or gunnels while the motor is on and the boat is in motion.
  • Turn the engine OFF before any passengers get in the water, in the Awareness Zone.
  • Double-check that all passengers are onboard the boat before starting the engine.
  • Don’t drink and boat. Assign a designated driver. Boating While Intoxicated is a Class B Misdemeanor.


Are there enough life jackets on your boat for every passenger onboard? Children and infants should wear a life jacket at all times. It is strongly recommended that adults wear a life jacket at all times too. Ask your dock hand to help you make sure everyone has a properly fitted life jacket before leaving the dock.


Whenever you have a Person Overboard situation, it’s important that all passengers onboard are aware of the procedure to retrieve the POB. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this situation:

  1. Immediately reduce the speed of your boat.
  2. Have one passenger immediately throw a floatation device towards the POB.
    1. Even if the POB has on a life jacket, the additional floatation device will help keep the POB afloat.
  3. Have one passenger onboard continuously point to, and keep visual contact with the POB.
  4. Be certain the engine is OFF before the POB attempts reboarding the boat.


Tow sports, like tubing, wakeboarding, and water skiing, to name a few, are a fun way to enjoy your time on the water! Here are some tips to help you have a fun, safe time on the water:

  • Each person engaged in tow sports should wear a properly fitted life jacket.
  • A minimum of 3 people is required for tow sports – one person being towed, one person to drive the boat, and one person to spot the person being towed.
  • The boat operator should pay close attention to where they are driving – this is why having a spotter is critical for safe tow sports.
  • Always make sure that no one is near the propeller, front, or sides of the boat before you start the motor – and always make sure the motor is off before re-boarding the boat from the water.


There are many navigation rules to ensure the safe operation of a boat. Here are a few navigation rules to help guide your day on the water. Remember, a US Coast Guard Certification is the best way to familiarize yourself with all navigation rules.

  • If another boat is coming at you head on, always turn to the right.
  • If passing another boat, slow your speed and pass on the left, leaving plenty of room between the two boats.
  • Always yield to boats not under power, like sailboats and kayaks.
  • Always stay clear of commercial and working boats.

Remember, if you think you are headed for a collision, it is the responsibility of the boat operator, or Person In Command, to slow down, steer away, or stop.


Each of our rental boat types has their own set of considerations – depending on the type. The following videos will provide some guidelines for renting some of the different types of boats in our fleet.

As a reminder, please watch the videos in the Boating Safety Overview section to ensure you have all the information you need to have a safe outing on the water!

Runabouts, Bowriders, and Deckboats

Pontoons and Tritoons

Wheel Steered Fishing Boats


Driving a houseboat, like driving an RV, also has its own set of considerations to ensure everyone can enjoy being on the water safely. The video below will give you some introductory pointers to consider when participating in any houseboat activity. Here is a list of a few basic things to keep in mind:

  • Everyone onboard should have a properly fitted life jacket.
  • Make sure emergency plans are in place and that every person onboard is familiar with the plans for various situations, like fire and carbon monoxide.
  • Always visually inspect your houseboat before leaving the dock. Alert the marina team if you see anything that looks concerning.
  • Always know the location of safety equipment, like life jackets, fire extinguishers, and throwable floatation devices.


Houseboats, like RVs, are very large and extremely heavy. They can be challenging to maneuver and require special care to operate safely. The short video in this section will give you an overview of some basic considerations. Here’s a short list to name a few:

  • Before moving the boat or starting the engine, take a headcount to ensure all passengers are onboard and in a safe area.
  • Always post lookouts at the front and rear of the boat when operating in reverse or navigating in tight areas and waterways.
  • Leave adequate space between your houseboat and other vessels or obstructions.
  • Always walk while on board the houseboat as the decks can become a slip hazard when wet.


All gasoline engines and generators produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, and lethal gas. Carbon monoxide can accumulate in dangerous concentrations around boats, swim platforms, and near the engines and generators. Here are some tips to help you safely navigate carbon monoxide gas:

  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: irritated eyes, headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness.
  • Always turn off all engines when swimming or engaging in water activities near the boat.
  • Keep swimmers away from areas where carbon monoxide can accumulate, even when the motors and generators are off.
  • If you hear a carbon monoxide alarm, shut off all generators and engines, open windows, and evacuate the boat until the alarm goes off.


The safety of you and your passengers should never be taken lightly. Proper preparation for expected and unexpected circumstances can help you and your passengers enjoy a safe houseboat vacation. Here are some helpful tips:

  • All passengers should know where the emergency equipment is, understand how to use it, and keep it readily accessible.
  • Have an exit plan in case of an emergency like fire or carbon monoxide.
  • Before going to bed, make sure all passengers have a readily accessible life jacket in case of an emergency while sleeping.
  • Never jump off of a moving houseboat. Always make sure the engines are OFF before swimming. When swimming, never swim under the boat, near or around the propeller, and never attempt to move the houseboat while swimmers are in the water.
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