Communicating With Passengers

Completing the pre-departure checklist (covered in section 4) and briefing provides tools to reduce risk. It creates opportunities to ensure the operator and passengers have moved through a sequential progression of elements critical to safe boating. All passengers should attend and participate in the pre-departure briefing.

Passengers should be instructed in how to assist in the quick recovery of persons in the water in various water conditions, water temperatures and watercraft. Procedures could include deploying a throwable personal flotation device or any other immediately available floating aid. The briefing should stress prevention of falls overboard, maintaining stability and three points of contact, wearing of life jackets at all times, and the proper response/action in a capsizing/fall overboard emergency. Before departure, the operator and passengers should discuss appropriate terms and hand signals which will be used during the voyage to ensure effective communication. Examples include:

  • Coming up – speeding up
  • Coming down – slowing down
  • Turning to Port, Starboard
  • Standby for wake, heavy rolls



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