Most boaters wish away the winter months with thoughts of being back on the water. They pass the time thinking of places to go, things to do, fish to catch and new toys to buy.

Now is the time to take inventory of our safety equipment, update our flares and check that our fire extinguishers and suppression systems are up to date and functioning properly.

Safety nets

"Boating is a great recreational activity for everyone. It brings together family and friends in an incredible natural setting that provides outdoor fun of all kinds. "

Personal flotation devices are as important as any other item on the boat and if yours are worn and old then it’s time for an upgrade. Make sure the kids have vests that fit properly and that they like to wear. No kid wants to wear those dorky orange vests that you keep to make sure you are in compliance with the laws. Do you blame them? Get life vests that are cool and comfortable and everyone will enjoy safety more. Check those inflatable vests and belts and get rearming kits if there is any doubt about their age and functionality. Remember, the life that your PFD saves may be yours or someone very dear to you.

Green solutions

Check your vessel for environmental friendliness as well. Green boating is not just the latest catch word, it is good boating practice. We all need to take care of the waters we call our playground.

If you are new to boating, take a boating safety course. They are easy to find and will make your boating experience safer and more enjoyable. The American Boating Association has a wealth of resources to help you complete all of these tasks and more as you get ready for the boating season.

Boating is a great recreational activity for everyone. It brings together family and friends in an incredible natural setting that provides outdoor fun of all kinds. Skiing, fishing, swimming or just sitting in your favorite cove watching the day go by — whatever floats your boat (pun intended). Boating makes memories that last a lifetime. Get out there and enjoy every bit of this season that you can. That’s what it’s all about! See you on the water.