These kids are only a wake-bounce away
from falling overboard. Even if they’re
lucky enough to escape injury, they’re
going to be in danger until they can
be picked up. If the boat is in a heavily
trafficked area, they might not be seen
by the skipper of a passing boat. One of
the children in the photo is not wearing
a life jacket, which might have offered
her only chance for survival if she goes in
the water. In many jurisdictions, boaters
are ticketed for allowing passengers to
ride on the bow with their feet hanging
overboard. Keep passengers off the bow
– especially kids.
TRAVEL LIFT FAIL
If you have boat that’s too big for a trailer, you’ve probably had
it hauled out with a travel lift. These ubiquitous straddle cranes
make short work of hauling boats for maintenance or storage.
As tough as they look, though, they’re not without dangers, as
this picture of failed straps shows.
Stay well clear of lifts when they’re carrying a load, even if
it’s your precious cargo. The straps require regular inspections
and replacement. But if a marina puts if off, the straps can fail,
which would be a disaster for your boat, and anyone nearby.
When this strap broke, a 30,000-pound 42-foot boat fell
onto a concrete slab. The boat sustained major damage, but no
one was injured. A few years ago, though, a marine surveyor was
seriously injured when a strap failed while he was surveying a
boat suspended in a travel lift.
Question: What’s the built-in safety factor for a boat’s lift’s
rated capacity? Answer: Don’t count on a safety factor. A 1,000-
pound lift should be used to lift no more than 1,000 pounds.
One mistake owners make is to save money by selecting a
lift that’s barely adequate for their boat. Boats tend to become
heavier as they age and as more equipment is added. If the
scuppers become clogged with leaves during a rainstorm, a lot
more weight can be added quickly.
Make sure your lift can handle the weight of your boat, full
fuel and water tanks, and any future extras. Also, make sure
that its attachment points are strong enough. If your boat is
already on a lift, double-check the capacity, and keep it within