Whether you’re new to the world of boating, or you have been doing it for years, learning or refreshing yourself on how to be safe while boating is a must! We have compiled a few of the most important tips for being safe on the water.
Drinking while operating a boat is extremely dangerous, especially since the effects of alcohol can be heightened by all the stimulation that comes with boating. The sun, noise, and glare can already be distracting. If anyone else on the boat decides to consume alcohol, make sure to bring water and food in case they get too intoxicated or dehydrated. Don’t forget, you CAN get a BUI (boating under the influence), and nobody wants that!
Some of the most important things to have on your boat are:
No matter what time of the year it is or how great the weather looks at the moment, be sure to always check a weather radar for hours in advance. Lightning, shifts in the wind, and choppy water are signs that a storm is coming, so be sure to get off the water as soon as you see these warnings. Bring a radio to hear about changing conditions. You can also download apps on your phone to help you navigate.
Tell someone on land where you’re taking your boat and for how long. That way, if something happens and you can’t contact them on the water, they’ll know when they should be concerned. Come up with a float plan just in case!
Too much gear and too many passengers will reduce the stability of the boat, thus increasing risk of accidents, capsizing, etc. Look near the boat operators position for the capacity of the boat.
With the water being as cold as it is in the Spring, you need to operate the boat even more carefully. Falling into the freezing water can leave you with very little time to get back in the boat – as little as two minutes.
Try to always have a second person on the boat with enough knowledge about the boat and boat safety in case the primary operator gets injured or for some reason incapacitated.
It seems fairly obvious, but being out in the deep water, you need to know how to swim! If you could use some more practice, go to a local organization such as American Red Cross and sign up for training classes.
Whether your state requires you to take a boating safety course, it is always best to take one and be more prepared. You can take a course at a place near you or even online.
The U.S. Coast Guard offers complimentary boat examinations, so why not take advantage of it? They will have a specialist check your boat in person or even do a virtual online safety check. They can also answer questions you have about safe boating.
Make sure to put some thought into your actions while boating. Operate the boat at a safe speed at all times, stay alert, and steer clear of large watercrafts that may not be able to stop or turn easily. Be respectful of buoys and other things on the water that are there to help you navigate safely.
Just because there are rules and restrictions doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your time on your boat. Make the most of each trip, just remember these tips to ensure safety for you and your passengers!