Manufacturer's Suggestions on Safe Boating
Cherubini Classic 20, 24, and 255SC
|Boating is not a very dangerous activity. Generally speaking, the most dangerous part of a boating day is driving in a car to and from the dock.
Nevertheless, if and when accidents do occur, there can be serious or fatal consequences. Collisions at high speed in a boat are as dangerous as in a car. The risk of gasoline fire or explosion is greater in a boat than in a car because fuel leaks are trapped in the boat, they can't dissipate on the road as in a car.
Rather than dwelling on all the horrible things that can possibly happen when one goes boating, let us emphasize some simple steps to assure safety. Boat safety is not rocket science -- it is mostly a simple mixture of common sense and awareness.
Cherubini Classics 20, 24, and 255SC-- Special Characteristics for Safe Operations
- BEFORE YOU START THE ENGINE
- Turn on the main power switch.
- Operate the bilge blower for five minutes to be sure the boat is clear of gasoline fumes.
- The driver should clip on the emergency engine cut-off control, so that he can stop the motor instantly and so the engine will stop should he somehow be dislodged from the driver's position.
- The Cherubini Classics are powerful, fast boats. Great care must be exercised in her operation. A new operator should operate at low speeds for a while. Only after the operator becomes comfortable with her handling characteristics at lower speed and only when there is a wide expanse of clear water should the operator begin to increase the speed. Remember that a boat does not have brakes.
- The engine should NEVER be gunned wide-open from a standstill. Instead, the boat should be accelerated gradually until reaching the desired, safe speed.
- The speed of the boat should always be controlled by the captain, taking into account a wide range of factors to ensure safe operation -- harbor speed limits, proximity of other boats, wind, waves, visibility, driftwood, etc. Slow down before crossing the wakes of other boats. A simple rule of thumb is that passengers should not feel uncomfortable because of abrupt, slamming motions. To take an extreme situation, the prudent speed in a fog may be to stop and anchor.
- The boat should never be airborne and the engine should never suck air. If this happens, SLOW DOWN! Don't jump wakes.
- Do not make very sharp turns at high speed. Just as a car can loose traction and skid out of control in a sharp, high speed turn, a powerful, high-speed boat can loose its grip on the water and become difficult to control.
- The Cherubini Classics are "small craft." When the marine weather forecast includes a "small craft advisory," it means that you should consider carefully if it is a safe boating day. One key factor is the size of the waves, and this will be affected by the direction of the wind and how protected the water is where you want go.
- When the boat is under way, all passengers must be in the cockpit. No one should ride on the deck or swim platform.
- The engine should not be operated in water less than 4 feet deep. (If the boat has a jet drive, then you need 2 feet of water; less and the drive may suck in sand or dirt that will cause damage.)
- The tow ring is designed for a water skier. It is not strong enough to tow a boat.
- This boat has no lightning protection and should not be operated when there is a chance of lightning. Under such conditions, go to a dock and seek shelter ashore.
- Review your engine instruction manual carefully. Some engines (eg. Optimax) have an electronically controlled oil injection system, using oil in a dedicated tank. Do not mix oil into the fuel. When you get gasoline, you should top off the oil tank too. This means you should carry a couple of quarts of the appropriate oil in the boat. The operating conditions for the oil are special, so be sure to follow the engine manufacturers' specifications for the oil.
- Beaching the boat for a picnic is generally not a good idea. The hull can get scratched, and if you are in tidal waters, you may have problems getting afloat. It is better to off load the boat and then anchor her off the beach in a few feet of water and walk ashore.
- While you should learn the rules of the road, in practice, since you will be operating a fast, maneuverable boat, it makes sense for you to yield and pass well behind sail boats, large power boats, and fishing boats. Don't even think about going near the bow of a large ship, where you have no rights (there actually is a "big boat rule") and will not even be seen.
- At the end of the day, to put the boat to bed, you should:
- If you have been operating in salt water, flush the engine cooling system, in accordance with procedures specified in the engine manual.
- Turn off the main power switch.
- Wipe the boat down, preferably with fresh water.
- Put on a full boat cover. The cover will do three very important things that will keep your boat in tip-top shape for a long time:
- It will keep rainwater out of the boat, so your battery won't be drained pumping.
- It will protect much of the electrical system from moisture.
- It will protect the deck and upholstery from damage caused by solar UV radiation and by bird droppings.
- When freezing temperatures at night are anticipated, the engine cooling system should be winterized in accordance with the engine manual's instructions.
General Safety Considerations for ALL MOTOR BOATS
- You must observe posted harbor speed limits.
- You are responsible for your wake and any damage it may cause. Stay away from small boats, canoes, sail boats, etc., that will be disturbed or endangered by your wake.
- Be alert for and stay far away from swimmers, water-skiers, SCUBA divers, etc.
- Remember that you have no brakes (and other boats also have no brakes). Plan your course to pass safely away from all other vessels.
- Boats turn from the stern -- to turn to the right, the stern will swing to the left. This can present a real problem when you are near a dock -- you try to turn away from the dock and your stern will swing into the dock. Learn how to push the boat off the dock in a way that avoids this problem. Learn when you have to "fend off" to protect your boat and others.
- Gasoline fumes have the explosive force of dynamite. If there are gasoline leaks from tanks, fuel lines, or engine malfunction, the boat should not be used until all loose gasoline is removed, the boat is fully ventilated, and the source of the leak is identified and fixed. Sometimes professional assistance is required if the gasoline spillage is substantial or the leak is obscure.
- Operate the bilge blower for 5 minutes to purge any gasoline fumes before starting the engine.
- When swimmers are around the stern of the boat or people are lounging on the swim platform, the engine must be OFF, to avoid any possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
General Safety Rules for All Boats
- Your boat must be registered in the state of operation and must display a registration number and sticker on each side of the bow.
- Check your state boating regulations. Some states have special education or licensing requirements for the operator. Some states have requirements that children and water skiers must wear PFDs (life preservers) at all times aboard the boat.
- Your boat must be equipped to meet Coast Guard requirements -- CG approved life preservers for everyone plus an extra for throwing to a person, a fire extinguisher, navigation lights, emergency visual signaling equipment (day and night), a horn, bailing device. There slight differences if you are on the coast or in an inland lake.
- In addition to Coast Guard required equipment, you should also carry a paddle, an anchor and anchor line, docking lines, fenders, an extra line that can serve as a tow line, and a hand-held VHF (which provides emergency communication with the Coast Guard and other vessels and marine weather forecasts).
- Before leaving the dock you should:
- Check the bilge to confirm the boat has no leak.
- Check the marine weather forecast -- be especially cautious if there is a "small craft advisory." Be ready to return early if there are indications of lightning or fog.
- Confirm that you have required navigation charts.
- Be sure you are aware of any special navigational issues in the waters you will navigate.
- Are navigation buoys up-to-date?
- Are there unmarked shallow areas or rocks?
- Have recent rainfalls brought a lot of driftwood or other debris into the waterways?
- Has drought lowered the level of the water, creating new hazards?
- Are dredges operating in the region?
- Are there any special security requirements affecting navigation?
- If you are going out of and into an ocean inlet, be sure you understand the characteristics of the inlet under the weather and tidal conditions when you will use it. If you are not sure, check with the local Coast Guard (Ch. 16 on your VHF). Inlets can become treacherous under certain conditions.
- Check for fuel and oil.
- Have all children use the toilet before casting off. Make sure children are wearing PFDs if required by state law.
- Make sure someone ashore knows your plans and expected time of return.
- Alcohol and boating DO NOT MIX. Especially in this sort of high performance boat, the captain needs ALL of his abilities of perception, judgment, and responsiveness ALL of the time. Harbor police are now putting boating under alcoholic influence in the same category as driving a driving a car under influence. Do your drinking after you have docked.
Trailering a boat has its own safety issues, including selection and loading of a trailer, driving habits, and maintenance of the trailer. Some useful websites are:
Trailer safety and maintenance
If you are inexperienced, take a course in boating safety. This summary is not a substitute for a course in boating safety or for years of boating experience!
U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety:
Safe Boating website: