Shallotte River Power Squadron, North Carolina

Boat safety awareness is the primary goal of National Boat 
Safety Week, May 18 to 24, sponsored by the National Safe 
Boating Council and their member organizations. The most 
important person on a boat is the Skipper, because
as the Skipper of a boat you cannot PASS-THE- BUCK. The law 
says the Skipper is responsible for everything that occurs 
aboard the vessel as well as the impact your boat has on 
others. This is true whether you own the boat, you borrow 
it or you rent it.

The Skipper sets the example for the entire crew and all 
passengers and must be knowledgeable of good seamanship 
practices, and must exercise good judgment at all times. 
Too many boaters do not understand their responsibilities 
very well and do not realize the legal problems they can 
get into. A person is not born with the knowledge to be a 
good Skipper, just like a person is not born with the 
knowledge to be a good driver of a car.  The skills for 
piloting a vessel are learned from experience and from the 
study of the regulations and principles of seamanship, and 
(910)-579-2886 and inquire about our public boating course 
taught twice a year in Brunswick County as well as our 
advanced courses in seamanship, piloting, navigation, weather, 
electronic instrumentation, engine maintenance and other 
pertinent topics. The United States Power Squadron is a 
nonprofit organization of experienced boaters committed 
to safe boating education.

The list of skipper responsibilities is long and as varied as 
the circumstances one can find themselves in on the water. As 
an example the skipper is responsible to:

- make sure the boat has all U.S. Coast Guard required safety 
devices, including life jackets, distress signals, fire 
extinguishers, navigation lights, ventilation of the bilge 
and more,

- make sure the boat registration, documentation and display 
of numbers are in order, 

- make sure all children and non -swimmers are wearing proper 
life jackets,

- avoid overloading, comply with the posted capacity of the boat,

- render assistance to any boater in distress,

- manage their wake to avoid damage for which you, as skipper, 
will be entirely responsible,

- avoid the spill of any oil or fuel in the water,

- avoid the discharge of trash, garbage or human waste into coastal 

- avoid the intemperate use of alcohol by anyone on the boat, 

- give way to skiers, sail boats under sail, divers, fishermen with 
nets deployed and any other boats or activities that are vulnerable 
because they do not have full control of their movements,

- assure at least one other person on board is instructed in the 
operation of the boat, and

- understand the rules of the waterway, the use of navigational aids 
and the invaluable information on a chart to assure safe passage for 
you and your passengers.  

...Boat Smart; Boat Safe; Take Control...