Regardless of how much experience you might have with boating, it is always wise to review safety practices and rules prior to a departure. Boating can be a fun and wonderful experience, but it can also be dangerous, which is why you should never neglect to sharpen up your memory on necessary precautions. You do not want your day of fun on a boat to turn into one of disaster.
Here are some important safety tips you should observe this summer while boating:
1.Consider the weather: You should always check for weather conditions before departing. You can use TV or radio forecasts as a source of good information. However, if you notice a darkening sky, rough winds, or drastic drops in temperature, err on the side of caution and stay out of the water.
2.Use a pre-departure checklist: Having a pre-departure checklist is one of the most effective ways to ensure no safety rules or precautions were overlooked or forgotten. Being prepared goes a long way.
3.Common sense: As is the case with most things in life, one of the most important parts of safety is to use your common sense. Operate at a safe speed at all times, stay alert, and steer clear of large vessels and watercraft that might be restricted in their ability to turn or stop in a timely manner. You should also be respectful of navigational aids on the water such as buoys, which serve to ensure your safety.
4.Designate an assistant skipper: More than one person aboard should be familiar with how to handle your boat, including operations and general safety. Therefore, if the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated, someone else can follow proper boating safety rules and assist everyone in their return to shore.
5.Have a float plan: Inform a family member or staff at your local marina of your boating trip, including where you are going and for how long you will be gone. Your float plan should also include:
a.The name, address, and phone number of the trip’s leader
b.The names and phone numbers of all passengers
c.Boat type and registration information
e.Types of communication and signal equipment the boat has, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
6.Use life jackets properly: Boaters who do not wear life jackets make up the majority of drowning victims. Make sure your friends and family are fitted with proper life jackets and are wearing them prior to departure.
7.Avoid alcohol: If you are in charge of navigating, save the alcohol for later and practice safe boating practices. There is a higher likelihood of being involved in a boating accident whenever alcohol is involved, the effects of which are further exacerbated by the sun and wind.
8.Learn to swim: If you are going to be in or around water, it is crucial to know how to swim. Many local organizations, including the American Red Cross, offer training for people of all ages and abilities.
9.Take a boating course: Boater education requirements vary from state to state, but regardless of your state’s requirements, it is always a good idea to be educated and prepared for every circumstance you might encounter. Beginners and experts alike stand to benefit greatly from taking a boating course that can help them sharpen up their skills, so be sure to educate yourself.
10.Look into getting a free vessel safety check: The US Coast Guard offers free vessel safety checks to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Take advantage of this to ensure your boat is up to par with safety regulations.
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