Boater, make the necessary preparations before heading out onto the water
Boating is a popular pastime, and there are always plenty of new enthusiasts on the waters as well. In recognition of this, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the police, the Finnish Border Guard and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency would like to remind all boaters of the importance of proper preparation.
Before setting off, your boat must have a designated master, who will be responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for providing instructions. The master must be of the age required, possess the ability and skills necessary to control the watercraft and have the attitude of a responsible boater. The master must also adhere to good seamanship practices. This means, in particular, that they must comply with all water traffic rules, take other watercraft users into consideration and prepare for current and forecast weather conditions. If you intend to serve as the master of a boat, you should also make sure to review the give-way rules for boating before the start of the boating season. There are no rights of way on the water, only give-way obligations.
Assess the conditions for boating – check the boat and its equipment and gear
The master of the boat is also responsible for assessing their boat’s suitability and safety in relation to current and forecast weather conditions. Being familiar with your boat and your own abilities will help you make the decision on when it is safe to set off and when it is not.
If your voyage requires route planning, be sure to bring the necessary nautical charts with you. Once you have planned a route, report it to your family members or friends. Be sure to also keep the boat’s certificate of registry and other necessary documents on board.
“Check the condition of the boat and its equipment and gear regularly. Every boat must have either a bailer or a bilge pump, depending on the size of the boat, as well as a paddle, oars and an anchor with rode. A motorboat must also have a functioning portable fire extinguisher on board. Each person on the boat must have an appropriately sized and approved lifejacket or other flotation device, which must either be worn or kept within easy reach,” says Chief Adviser Kimmo Patrakka from Traficom.
Review give-way rules and set off only when sober
In order to operate safely, the boatmaster must be at full functional capacity and alert. Alcohol contributes to numerous boating fatalities every year, in addition to causing minor accidents and property damage. As such, you should only head out onto the water when sober.
“Review give-way rules and good seamanship practices before setting off,” urges Manager Joona Castren from the Helsinki Maritime Rescue Sub-centre, adding that all boaters and passengers should also save the maritime search and rescue emergency number 0294 1000 on their phones.
Preparation checklist for boaters
1. Make sure that you are familiar with your boat and that it is in good condition and safe. Check the condition of the boat’s equipment and gear and make sure that you have everything required on board.
2. Check the weather conditions before setting off.
3. If your voyage requires route planning, be sure to also bring the necessary nautical charts with you. Report your planned route to your family members or friends.
4. Make sure that you have enough fuel, including reserve fuel.
5. Study the give-way rules, the Water Traffic Act and the master’s responsibilities.
6. Save the maritime search and rescue emergency number 0294 1000 on your phone. On inland waters, use the national emergency number 112 in the event of an emergency.
7. Head out onto the water only when sober. Put on a lifejacket or other flotation devices before setting off or keep them close at hand.
You can meet experts from Traficom, the police, the Finnish Border Guard and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency at the Vene 23 Båt boat show being held on 10–19 February 2023 at Messukeskus by visiting the authorities’ shared booth 6e60.
The Border Guard will accept outdated emergency signaling devices in connection with the Vene 23 Båt fair on 11.2. and 18.2., between 10:00 and 14:00. Collection takes place in the immediate vicinity of the north entrance. An official car of the Border Guard is present.
Kimmo Patrakka, Chief Adviser, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, tel. +358 29 534 6450, [email protected]
Joona Castren, Manager, Maritime Rescue Sub-centre, Finnish Border Guard, tel. +358 29 542 6901, [email protected]
Simo Kerkelä, Unit Manager, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, Maintenance of waterways , tel. +358 29 534 3354, [email protected]
Jukka Grönlund, Sergeant, Helsinki Police Department, Boat Police, [email protected] and [email protected], tel. +358 29 547 1666