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Marina Safety Guidelines

Download a printable version of these guidelines (PDF, 101 KB)

General Safety Guidelines

  • Anyone onboard a boat 21 feet or less, operating from November 1st to May 1st, must be wearing a personal floatation device (PFD).
  • Everyone under 12 years of age must wear a personal floatation device while onboard a boat underway. A PFD must be available for every individual onboard as well.
  • Make sure no ropes get under your boat where they may be sucked into the pump intake.
  • In shallow water, do not allow your boat motor to run more than a few seconds. If you do, the pump can draw sand and gravel into the intake and damage the pump and/or cooling lines.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in enclosed spaces. Leaking exhaust from hoses or manifolds, from engines or generators, could be very dangerous.
  • Never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Leave your float plan with a friend or relative.
  • Be mindful of Coast Guard security notices and how they may affect your plans. Always be prepared to be boarded.

Docking or Tying to Mooring

  • When docking, use forward or reverse at idle speed to maneuver the boat. Be careful not to overaccelerate the boat. This can cause personal injury and/or major damage to your boat or other vessesl nearby.
  • Don’t be afraid to quit your landing attempt and come around for a second, third, or fourth try as needed. Use wind and current to your advantage.
  • Always approach mooring ball against the current to avoid being swept past.
  • Put out fenders or bumpers, have mooring lines ready, and have a boat hook available.
  • When tying your boat to a dock, you should first tie the line that will hold the vessel against the current or wind. When getting underway, the last line untied should be the one that holds your vessel to the dock when taking into account the wind and current. You should be prepared to power away from the dock as soon as that last line is untied.
  • Keep hands and other body parts in boat until boat has come to complete rest.
  • Embark or disembark only when boat is secured.

Vessel Sinking Emergency

  • Use five blasts on air horn, pause, and repeat five blasts until signal is returned. Call 911. Notify Dockmaster or Watchperson immediately.
  • Secure shore power.
  • In case of fuel spillage, contact U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.

Storm Emergency

  • Secure all loose items.
  • Double-up on dock lines.
  • Contact Dockmaster if you are aboard a vessel. Avoid staying aboard.
  • Keep a checklist with the correct radio distress signals and procedures.
  • Maintain a radio watch on VHF Channel 16 and WX Channel.

Top Five Causes of Flooding and Fires

Be aware of the top five causes of flooding, which is the primary cause of boat loss:

  • Loose underwater hull fitting
  • Rain water build-up
  • Grounding or touching bottom
  • Loose plank or seam
  • Non-operational bilge pump

Be aware of the top five causes of fires on vessels:

  • Do-it-yourself electrical wiring or using too many electrical appliances.
  • Fuel and pipelines, hot surfaces, and wiring in areas with poor ventilation.
  • Welding or cutting during alterations and repairs.
  • Gas, oil and petroleum appliances should always be handled with care
  • Always dispose of smoking materials in a safe manner.

Fire Prevention and Preparation

  • Make sure all fire extinguishers are inpected and in good working order.
  • Check fuel hoses and containers periodically to prevent vapors from escaping into bilges.
  • Wiring and electrical appliances should be checked regularly.
  • Smoke detectors should be fitted in the cabin.
  • Fire blankets should be situated near to, but not above, the cooker.
  • Before starting up, ventilate the engine compartment.
  • Before taking on fuel, stop engine and turn off all cooking and lighting appliances.
  • Do not smoke while refueling. To prevent spillage, never top-off fuel tank.
  • When changing LPG cylinders, ensure valve on cylinder is turned OFF before disconnecting.
  • Do not leave a cooker unattended.
  • Great care must be taken when smoking. Smoking materials should never be left in ashtrays.
  • Avoid build-up of excessive trash and clutter.

Fire Emergency

  • Use five blasts on air horn, pause, and repeat five blasts.
  • Turn off electrical shore power.
  • Exit the boat. Call 911. Notify Dockmaster or Watchperson immediately.
  • Extinguish fire if it is safe to do so.
  • Isolate petrol and gas if possible.
  • Avoid other crafts and alert them.

For additional safety information, call the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline at (800) 368-5647. In case of emergency, contact New York Harbor Patrol at (212) 993-0950.

To contact the Parks Marina Division, please call (718) 478-0480 for World’s Fair Marina and (212) 496-2105 for 79th Street Boat Basin.

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