for the ultimate lake day
If you’re like us, you spend all winter anticipating when summer will be here so you can get out on your boat and enjoy the time spent with family and friends. Whether you’re brand new to boating or you’ve been a lifelong member of the Malibu family, we can all be reminded of a few safety guidelines to ensure the best time on the water and to protect you and other boaters. Let’s walk through a packed day of boating and highlight the important safety steps that you don’t want to miss!
As you’re getting ready for an incredible time on the water, make sure you have enough U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for every single person on the boat. Check your local regulations, but for those under 12, make sure they put on their life jacket before they step foot on the boat. Before setting off, make sure anyone planning on operating the boat is in compliance with your local boat operator licensing laws. Once you’ve got your crew loaded into the boat, make sure the driver always attaches the emergency engine cutoff switch safety lanyard (kill switch) somewhere on themselves and make sure it’s engaged on the other end. When you power the boat on, run the blower for at least four minutes before starting the engine, make sure the throttle is in neutral, punch your code in and then start the engine.
Now that you’re cruising to your favorite spot on the water, make sure you’re up to date on all the U.S. Navigation Rules and can handle these key scenarios: a crossing situation, a head-on situation, or an overtaking situation. It is also your responsibility as a boat driver to know all the navigational aids such as the buoys, markers, lights, beacons, etc. and what the markings on each of those mean. If you think you need a quick refresher on any of these U.S. Navigation Rules, check out this guide here.
Let’s get to the fun part! When your rider has a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on and their gear ready, attach their rope to the appropriate tow point and make sure the engine is shut off before the rider gets in the water. Wait for the rider to tell you they are ready, idle forward until the line is tight, then slowly ease the throttle forward. Keep your eyes on your course in front of you and use your mirror to occasionally glance back at the rider. Additionally, in many areas a spotter with a watersports flag is mandatory. The spotter’s job is to let you know when the rider falls so you can concentrate on driving. Some states also require the spotter to raise a flag while the rider is down. When your rider falls, keep them on the starboard side where they are easy to see from the helm as you go back to pick them up or give them the rope. Have the spotter throw them the rope if they want to go again, or turn the boat off if they are coming back in.
We know that sometimes you can get in the excitement of what your rider is doing, but always stay at least 200 feet away from other boats, docks, and shorelines. Particularly for wakesurfing and wakeboarding, your wave or wake will never be optimized at less than 15 feet of water depth. The general rule of thumb is the more water under the boat the better. Also remember to reduce repetitive passes and keep music to reasonable levels. These guidelines are known as “Wake Responsibly” and help ensure everyone’s fun and safety continues on local waterways.
If you like to spend your whole day on the water, make sure to frequently check in on your crew to make sure everyone is staying hydrated and wears proper sun protection. If you’re anchored, it’s always a good idea to pop the bimini open and let your crew cool down for a little while. If your boat has the available Gx Tower with Tower Misters, let those misters run and give your entire crew a nice, cool area to relax.
As you’re wrapping up your day and heading back to the dock, be cautious for any No Wake Zones that your waterway might have. Sometimes called Slow Speed Zones, these are areas where you’re not allowed to drive fast enough for your boat to produce a wake. This is typically to protect shorelines and other boats that may be docked or moored. No Wake Zones are usually marked with a circle on a sign or a buoy and show either the speed you can drive or a simple “No Wake” or “Idle Speed.”
The Malibu Command Center™ features a “Go Home” button that when clicked automatically drains all ballast, stows Surf Gate™ and Power Wedge III™ and gets your boat ready to dock and trailer. If you tow your boat or boat on multiple bodies of water, there’s one last step that you should always take- make sure to decontaminate your boat. Whether your waterway has a mandatory watercraft inspection before entering or not, the best practice is to always decontaminate your boat after usage to ensure the prevention of spreading invasive species to new bodies of water. All 2021 Malibu’s come standard with a Flush Kit at the back of the boat to help empty out any remaining water to decontaminate your boat and make it even easier to trailer home.
We know that some of these steps may seem second-nature but it’s always a good reminder to take a few moments and make sure you’re following these safety guideline to ensure the ultimate day on the water for your friends and family.
Malibu's Boating Guide
The Truth to Boating
If you’re looking for more information on how to trailer your boat, how to drive your boat, or how to dock your boat, check out this guide to all things boating to get you started on the road to your best summer yet!Check It Out
How To Trailer Your Boat
How To Launch Your Boat
How To Drive Your Boat
How To Dock Your Boat
Getting Home From The Lake
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