Boating Safety

Whatever your experience level, it’s usually a good idea to periodically review boat safety basics to keep yourself and another safe while on the water. Novices, in particular, can benefit from safety classes typically offered by boat dealers and marinas. Offered here is a brief mini course to get you up to speed or give a gentle reminder of primary parts of boat safety.

Weather plays a crucial role when it comes to boating. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check local weather conditions prior to leaving. The TV and radio are good sources, but you may prefer to use the internet. Weather sites can show you radar maps and give a fairly accurate forecast of the day’s weather outlook. You can also access these sites any time from a web-enabled phone so you can keep apprised on changing conditions throughout the day.

When bad weather is looming, get off the water. Plain and simple. Whether it’s clouds rolling in or a sharp decrease in air temperature or a weather warning, take it seriously. Being on the water during a storm can ruin your outing and possibly put your life in danger.

Being prepared for any boating situation is the boat owners responsibility. If you’re the owner, then that falls on your shoulders. Everything from fire safety to fuel fill-ups. To make sure you’re on top of everything, make use of checklists so that nothing is forgotten.

Perhaps the most important boating safety tip is to simply use your common sense. When you’re in a crowded area, travel at a safe speed. Pay attention and avoid getting too close to larger vessels. Watch out for buoys and other types of navigational aids.

Ideally, you want at least two people on board to be familiar with how the boat operates so if one is incapacitated for some reason, the other person can safely take over and get everyone back to shore. Make sure there are life jackets for everyone on board and that they fit properly.

Always let someone know what your boating plan is for the day. Where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This can be a family member or friend or a staff member at the local marina.

It’s a good idea to avoid having alcohol while boating. Drinking can significantly increase your odds of being involved in an accident on the water. The sun and the wind can contribute to the effects of the alcohol on your body. If you must have a beer, then limit it to just one to be safe.

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