Mar 25 2014
With boating season quickly approaching, even the most experienced boater needs to keep safety in mind before hitting the water. So, before you head out to your favorite river, lake, bay, etc., review the eight boating safety tips below:
1. Be Weather-wise - Always check the forecast before departure to make sure conditions will be safe for you to be on the water. If you notice sudden changes in the wind or clouds or dropping temperatures while on the water, head back to shore.
2. Check and Double Check - Make a checklist to follow before every trip. Include items like checking fuel lines for leaks and hoses for connections. Make sure the battery is charged and the fuel tank is filled properly. Check that all safety devices like a first aid kit, drinking water, life jackets, and fire extinguisher are present and accounted for on your boat.
3. File a Float Plan - Write down your intended departure and return times, your intended route, a description of your vessel and its registration number, and the names and contact numbers of all of your passengers. Leave this information with a friend or family member or the local marina in case of an emergency.
4. Designate a Second in Command - Make sure at least one other person on board is familiar with the operation of the watercraft, location of the safety devices, and boating safety rules.
5. Know the Rules - Every state has its own set of rules for boating safety and certification. Don’t limit yourself to them. Take a boating safety course. Seventy percent of boating accidents are due to operator error.
6. Learn to Swim - Of course you need to have proper life jackets for all your passengers, and they should be worn at all times when on the water. Eighty percent of fatalities on the water can be prevented by wearing life jackets. Being a good swimmer will make you more comfortable in the water and increase your odds for survival.
7. Vessel Check - Consider having your boat professionally checked. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary provides a free safety check for your boat and provides safety tips and recommendations.
8. No BUI - Boating under the influence is dangerous for both the skipper and the passengers. Not only does consuming alcohol accelerate impairment, but most people have less experience on water and that increases the danger of accidents.
When you head out on the water with family and friends this boating season, remember to follow safe boating practices