SMECO newsletter

volume 67 - issue 7 - July 2017

Practice boating safety around lines

Environmental Information for SMECO's SOS

Many people in Southern Maryland spend time out on the water enjoying summer fun. SMECO would like to remind sailing enthusiasts to be aware of power lines. Check out these safety tips to ensure safer sailing.

Many sailboats have masts of 30 feet or more. Most of these masts are made of aluminum, which conducts electricity. When rigging or aluminum masts come into contact with electric power lines, a lethal hazard is created.

Before you sail, be sure to step the mast in an area clear of power lines. Ensure that the path you take to the launching ramp will not allow your mast to come into contact with overhead lines. The National Electrical Safety Code requires that power lines maintain a certain clearance over water or posted launching areas suitable for sailboats. This doesn’t guarantee that your mast will not come into contact with the lines. Take the responsibility yourself to see that your mast and rigging stay at least 10 feet away from all power lines.

Once you are on the water, continue to keep an eye out for overhead lines because power lines do cross over waterways. Make sure that your boat has proper clearance from any overhead lines. Your mast must never make contact with power lines.

When you are removing your boat from the water, be sure to inspect the area for possible power lines that may come into contact with the mast as you step it and store it for travel.

Practice safe sailing and enjoy!