NWCBC Safety Policy and Event Procedures


One of the benefits of membership in NWCBC is the comfort of boating with a group that you can depend on if something goes wrong on the water. This is especially appreciated by those of us who power our vessels with vintage motors. Our use of the buddy system and our practice of “leave no boater behind” are a valuable benefit of membership. To insure that our events are as safe and enjoyable as possible, and that we do not place too large a burden on our fellow members, we ask that all participants in NWCBC events comply with the following guidelines.

1) All members participating in events are required to insure that their vessels are equipped with all equipment required by the appropriate governing authority. (State regs for fresh water, Coast Guard regs for salt water)

2) All members participating in events are required to operate their vessels in compliance with applicable laws, i.e. boater safety card requirements, boating under the influence of drugs/alcohol, specific regulations for the body of water etc.

3) NWCBC urges every member to submit their vessel to a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel inspection and comply with any recommendations made by the inspector.

4) Prior to events, the leader/organizer of the event may recommend additional equipment for that event based on their experience and knowledge of possible conditions. Members should comply with these recommendations.

5) Prior to events, the leader/organizer of the event may point out specific cautions concerning the event location, such as shallow areas, speed limits, etc. Although every effort will be made to make members aware of any known hazards and members are expected to note and be aware of these recommendations, ultimately it is the individual responsibility of each member to be aware of hazards and regulations for the area in which they are boating.

6) At the start of some events, the leader of the event may announce a pre-departure meeting prior to setting out in order to brief participants on current conditions and hazards, hand out maps etc. Depending on the launch location, this meeting may take place on shore or on the water. All participants are expected to be present for these meetings.

7) NWCBC endorses use of the buddy system for most on-the-water events, meaning that when we are heading off toward a destination we try hard not to leave anyone behind, with all boats running at the speed of the slowest boat in the fleet. Event leaders should suggest, when appropriate, that participating boats be able to maintain a certain hull speed, so as not to slow the fleet unnecessarily.

8) When certain on-the-water events involve cruising to a destination, participants should
make every effort to have their boats in the water, running and ready to go by the planned hour of departure. In many cases, event organizers suggest departure times in order to not only help assure that the group gets to the destination--but gets there safely. before a change in tidal currents, before the wind kicks up nasty whitecaps, or for other important safety reasons. When events have an announced departure time of, say, 10 am., the fleet of boats will leave at 10 am. Members are expected to time their arrival to allow for launching, parking, pre-departure meeting, etc. before the scheduled departure time. Based on their knowledge of the launch facility, parking arrangements, etc., event leaders will recommend an arrival time.

9) When participating in destination cruises, communication on the water is vital not only for safety but for keeping the trip on schedule. Members participating in these events are expected to be equipped with a VHF radio, to monitor the appropriate channel and maintain contact with the fleet. In most cases, the event leader is the point of contact for the fleet.

10) When participating in destination cruises, members are expected to either stay with the fleet or clearly communicate their intention and desire to cruise alone, take a side trip, fish, nap, etc. Unannounced departures from the group are unsafe and discourteous. Don't make your fellow members search for and worry about you unnecessarily. Again, the event leader is the point of contact for communicating your intentions.

11) One of the most common issues during destination cruises is fuel--that is, having enough for the trip. Please be sure you understand your boat's fuel-consumption pattern before joining a trip, and bring enough extra fuel to assure that you don't run out midway to a destination. (If you have questions about distance, fuel consumption or possible refueling options, please ask before the event, others will be happy to advise you.)

12) In addition to bringing required safety equipment, please be sure to pack basic tools when participating in on-the-water events. Spare spark plugs, fuel-filter elements, shear pins, extra props, etc. are good things to include in your basic tool kit.

13) If you are a “less experienced” member, please do not hesitate to seek out the opinion and guidance of our more experienced members regarding whether or not your boat and/or skill level are suitable for a particular event. There is no shame in being a “newbie”, the “old salts” in the club have consistently shown a willingness to instruct and guide less experienced members and their generosity in sharing their knowledge is one of the greatest benefits to membership. In addition to asking for guidance from other members, you are also asked to courteously receive advice when it's offered, even though you may feel it's not needed. The unsolicited comment you don't appreciate at the dock one stressful day may save your bacon (or your boat) at a later date.