As a certified safe boating instructor for more than 25 years, I'd like to offer some basic boating safety advice after reading the article about the boat fire on Lake Monona and seeing video of the fire on local news.
Three occupants of a small jet boat were forced to jump out and swim to shore after their craft caught fire on Lake Monona on Monday night, authorities reported.
First, make sure that all gas fumes are ventilated prior to starting the engine. We teach that engine exhaust blowers should be run a minimum of four minutes prior to starting. If starting immediately after refueling, make sure you check for fuel leaks and don't forget to open the engine compartment to visually inspect and use your nose to sniff for fumes. Second, make sure that both battery terminals are covered. Uncovered battery terminals are a major fire hazard.
If these safe boating rules are new to you, take a safe boating class through the Department of Natural Resources or with America's Boating Club.
Finally, please wear your life jackets over the Fourth of July weekend. It's the busiest boating weekend of the year.
Jim Pahl-Washa, Deforest, commander, America's Boating Club, Madison