As the weather warms up across the country, millions will be taking to the waters in the form of boating and recreation. Whether you’re renting a boat for the first time or deciding whether to buy one, this is a good time to learn some basic safety tips for recreational boaters. No matter what body of water you intend to go on, these safety tips for recreational boating will help you get out on the water quicker.
10 Safety Tips for Boaters
Life jackets for everyone. Life jackets can help passengers stay afloat in rough waters, protect them against hypothermia, and keeping their head above water. Most water victims come from drownings.
Never drink and boat. Alcohol use is a leading contributor to fatal boating accidents. There can be severe repercussions to boating while drunk including the death of you, or worse, one of your friends or family. So, keep it cool on the water and keep the drinks soft until you return safely to land.
Take a boating safety course. There’s a relatively low accident rate for boating deaths occurring where the operator took a boating safety course. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate.
Put down the cell phone. Talking, texting, and chatting are all becoming a growing problem on the waterways. Put down the cell phone to avoid distracted driving, you would when driving a car.
Drive at a safe speed. Make sure you understand the local laws and regulations regarding speed zones. Take note of the visibility, density, traffic, and proximity of other boaters.
Check the weather forecast. A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. Be aware of changing weather conditions and keep the forecast in mind while boating.
Act before a storm hits. Boaters can get information via VHF marine radios, commercial radios, television stations, and newspapers. As a boater, you must be knowledgeable in the types of advisories and act before a storm hits.
Use a carbon monoxide detector. All combustion engines emit carbon monoxide—and it’s deadly. Symptoms are similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication.
File a float plan. Tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you’ll be back. In case anything happens, someone will know when to alert the authorities.
Get a free Vessel Safety Check. Boats need to be inspected routinely. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost, so let their certified vessel examiners check your boat’s equipment and provide you with safety information before you go out on the water. Check with your marina or yacht club to find one in your area.
We hope these safety tips for recreational boating get you out on the water quickly and safely. So, escape the city and have fun with your friends. Do it safely and make it a trip to remember.