DIS­TRACTED BOAT­ING. DON’T DO IT.

Boating - - MAKING WAVES / NEWS - —John Page Wil­liams

Dis­tracted driv­ing? Oh, yeah, it can be danger­ous, and most states have laws to com­bat it. Is it eas­ier to avoid dis­trac­tions while pi­lot­ing a boat com­pared to a car? No, prob­a­bly harder. There are no white lines to fol­low, other ves­sels ap­proach from all di­rec­tions at all speeds, sea con­di­tions get lumpy, chan­nels nar­row, har­bors turn crowded, calls come in on the VHF, fish strike trolling lines, and peo­ple move around the boat. The list of on-the-water at­ten­tion di­vert­ers goes on and on.

Ex­pe­ri­enced skip­pers have learned to pay at­ten­tion around their boats while un­der­way, but how can new boaters get that ex­pe­ri­ence as safely as pos­si­ble? And is it pos­si­ble for ex­pe­ri­enced skip­pers to sharpen their sit­u­a­tional aware­ness? The folks at the Na­tional Safe Boat­ing Coun­cil asked that ques­tion too. To get an an­swer, the coun­cil’s di­rec­tor emer­i­tus Vir­gil Cham­bers de­vel­oped a sim­ple pro­to­col called SCAN for keep­ing a proper look­out: search, con­cen­trate, an­a­lyze and ne­go­ti­ate.

It’s all com­mon sense, isn’t it?

Sure, but can it be sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to help? It can. Look for our full re­port on dis­tracted boat­ing on boat­ing­mag.com.

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