Commission Urges Boaters To Stay Off The Water

TRENTON — The New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission urged members of the public — particularly those who own or are charged with maintaining boats or marine equipment – to stay out of areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and, if possible, stay off the water.

“Over the last few days our state, together with much of the Eastern seaboard, has experienced devastation the likes of which the people of New Jersey have never seen,” the Commission said in a statement. “Coastal flooding, storm surges, and high winds have irreparably damaged — and in some cases completely destroyed – real and personal property, downed utilities and washed away homes, infrastructure and businesses. Tragically, the hurricane also has claimed the lives of innocent victims throughout our area. Now, as the storm passes and we begin the arduous task of assessing, repairing and rebuilding, it is critical that we take steps to mitigate the dangers.”

The Commission noted that many people are understandably concerned about the condition and location of their boats and equipment. However, boat owners and boat caretakers should stay clear until State of Emergency declarations have been lifted, public safety personnel have deemed the area in which the vessel is located to be safe, and boatyard, dock, and marina owners have indicated that the premises can be safely accessed.

“Most importantly, when attempting to approach or board their boats or docks, boaters should maintain the highest level of awareness and care as to personal safety, the stability, condition and overall safety of their vessels, and the surrounding area,” the Commission said.

In addition to recommending these safety precautions, the Commission urged boaters to stay off of the water in the coming weeks. Boaters who intend to operate their vessels in the period immediately following the storm should be aware that there will be floating debris, shifting underwater structures – for example, sandbars and shoals — and new or changed current patterns with which they may not be familiar, the Commission said.

Also buoys, lights and other navigation and safety signals, as well as drawbridges, may not be working properly and dockside services will likely be unavailable until necessary repairs have been made.

The Commission urged those who must operate their vessels to check NOAA marine forecasts, review current notices to mariners, file a float plan, and remain mindful of the hazards that can accompany a storm like Hurricane Sandy.

The Commission also urged boaters to report any conditions they directly encounter, or otherwise become aware of, that could pose a danger to life or property.

“Finally, as you take the necessary steps to prevent or minimize any property damage to your vessel, be mindful that your boat and the equipment on board is replaceable – you and your passengers are not,” the Commission said.

The next public meeting of the Boat Regulation Commission will be held on November 14, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at the Raritan Yacht Club located at 160 Water Street, Perth Amboy, New Jersey 08861.

The Boat Regulation Commission was established by the New Jersey Legislature within the Department of Law and Public Safety. The Commission promulgates rules and regulations, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, pertaining to the inspection, operation, racing and safety of vessels on the waters of the State of New Jersey. In addition, the Commission is charged with promoting the health, safety and welfare of the public, as well as the free and proper use of the waters.

Current members of the Commission are: Shaun I. Blick, Esq., E. Barrie Borman, Edward J. Harrison, Jr., George Rover, and Bruce A. Strigh.

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