Practice Boat Safety Tips for Fun and Safe Boating Adventures
Boating is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. You could say it’s attracting followers in waves. But with the fun comes a reminder that safety is vital to all aboard. Here are some boat safety tips:
1. Take a boating safety course
A boating safety course is smart for novices and even veteran sea dogs who need a refresher in boat operation and safety. Check with your state department of natural resources, marinas or boat dealers for boat safety courses. A solid program will teach you about various parts and functions of your craft, how to use safety equipment and proper piloting. You’ll also learn the watercraft rules of your state.
2. Wear your life jacket
Even the best swimmer should wear a life jacket or vest, particularly in rough waters. And, boating regulations require all craft to have a certified flotation device for each passenger.
3. Know the water and your surroundings
Whether you’re in familiar waters or unknown, always be aware of your surroundings. Before heading out, plan your route and know where the nearest marina is. Keep your distance from other boats and the shore; water close to shore can be deceiving and appear deeper than it really is. Whenever you drop anchor, keep an eye on a landmark on land to help your orientation.
4. Be a smart, safe skipper
As captain, your chief responsibility is to transport your passengers safely. Before shoving off, make sure all aboard are seated and coolers, ski equipment and other items are secured. Avoid sudden starts and stops that could jostle unsuspecting passengers. And if the crew is out for a swim, wait until everyone is back on board before turning on the engine.
5. Avoid capsizing
Reduce the odds of capsizing by knowing your craft’s weight limit and not exceeding it.
6. Stock emergency boat safety items
Prepare for the unexpected injury or becoming stranded. Pack a first aid kit, including the basics, as well as seasickness medication, insect repellent and sunscreen. Carry flares, a flashlight and a horn to signal authorities or passersby if your craft breaks down or runs out of gas.
It’s always best to leave the dock with a full tank of fuel – and to keep your eye on the fuel gauge while you’re out.
7. Carry a marine radio
Two-way radios help you contact authorities or other boaters in an emergency.Some boats come equipped with marine-band radios; if yours doesn’t, you can buy an inexpensive handheld at sporting goods and electronics stores, or online.
8. Check the weather
Stay tuned to the weather forecast. If conditions are not conducive for a carefree and safe day on the water, stay ashore. Your safety and that of your passengers is too important.
9. Protect yourself
It’s smart seamanship to practice boat safety. And to further protect your craft and crew, get a free boat insurance quote from Nationwide Insurance®.