We were lucky enough to talk with Jeffrey Morales of Cobalt Boats to learn more about boat safety and the all of the fun that can be had on the water.
Q: Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. Boat season is upon us! Tell us, what are the top 3 boat safety tips we should keep in mind?
Always check local weather conditions before departure. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds, or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe. Don’t get in the water. Go boating another day.
Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist.
Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
Use Common Sense.
One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.
Q: For those of us with kids, we are wondering at what age can a person captain his/her own boat, and are there any specific rules for youngsters who are boating without adult supervision?
Each state has specific rules on how old the child has to be and if a class for license is needed. I would urge all to do some research coupled with good parenting decisions.
Q: What advice would you give newbies who are considering buying their first boat?
There are many useful informational resources online for new boats. You might also visit your local dealers to let them know your needs and let them help you find the right one. If it’s a pre-owned unit, have a separate mechanic take a look. They almost always will do this for a small fee.
Q: What design elements do you appreciate most - and why?
I enjoy most all aspects of exterior to interior, but the comforts found in the interior design tend be my favorites.
Q: Is there any kind of inaugural tradition you follow when you bring your boat out for the first time each summer?
I enjoy getting the family out for the first time in early spring when the water is still a tad cold. We all dive in together. It’s a bit of a system shock, but to me, it signifies the start of boating season.
Q: When did you first fall in love with boating?
I was a bit older than most, around 18. We had a small ski boat, and I fell in love with slalom skiing and loved being on the water in Texas.
Q: John F. Kennedy famously said, “I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea.” Do you have a favorite quotation that resonates with you?
“A smooth sea never made a skillful boater.”
Q: Boats are full of promise, of potential adventures, a source of relaxation and fun, somewhere to be away from it all, and somewhere to be close to great friends and family. What is your ideal boat-day?
These days with small kids, we enjoy just cruising around the lake a bit, then enjoying some swim time. We will find a place on the water for lunch, then find another cove for the remainder of the day. We always try and get some wake surf time in as well!
Q: Cobalt builds all of its boats in a very unlikely place: Kansas! Not the typical backdrop for a boat company. How and why did you put roots down here, and how has this shaped Cobalt’s growth?
Pack St. Clair, Cobalt’s founder, was from Chanute, Kansas. Once he had the vision and got it started, it was tough to move from the dedication and work ethic of our Midwestern culture.
Q: Your business model is amazing. For 50-plus years, Cobalt Boats has been building some of the best, most beautiful boats. What is the secret to your success and longevity?
Our associates are what has given us the ability to be great. They build the best boats in the industry.
Q: “Through the doors walk the finest boat builders in the world.” This is emblazoned on the sign over the door to Cobalt, under which every employee walks each morning. It seems that you have fostered a true feeling of “family” among the Cobalt team. What is the secret to this wonderful work-family culture that you created?
Pack and his son and CEO, Paxson, have created a culture where no one is less valuable than the next. Everyone has a voice, and with that, each associate has a vested interest in doing their best every day.
Thank you! Helpful information for sure... and here's to a great, safe and fun summer ahead!