There’s nothing like a good day on a boat, enjoying the water and basking in the sun. However, before you leave the dock, it’s always a good idea for everyone on board to take a moment to review the basics in boating safety. These ten boating safety tips will help ensure your cruise on the water goes smoothly:
- Learn to Swim: The first rule in being around water is that you’ve got to learn how to swim. There are a ton of organizations that teach swimming lessons, such as the American Red Cross or local swim schools.
- Be Weather-Wise: Always check local weather conditions before departure. TV, internet, and radio forecasts are all good sources of information but common sense is essential too. If you notice dark clouds, volatile winds, or sudden drops in temperature, you may want to reconsider your outing on the boat.
- Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist: You can never be too prepared or too safe. Follow this pre-departure checklist to make sure you didn’t overlook any safety precautions.
- Use Common Sense: As previously mentioned, common sense is essential in boating. Use your best judgement when operating a boat at certain speeds (slow down in crowded areas), stay alert at all times, and steer clear of large vessels and other watercrafts that can be restricted in their ability to turn. Also pay attention to navigational aids such as buoys that have been carefully placed for the safety of boaters.
- Designate an Assistant Skipper: Make sure you have a back-up who is familiar with all aspects of the boat’s handling operations and general boating safety. If something happens to the primary navigator, this will ensure a safe return. Your assistant should also be your extra set of eyes while under way and should always be on the lookout for traffic and oncoming floating debris.
- Develop a Float Plan: Always notify someone or several people that you are going on the boat. This could be a family member, friend, or staff at the local marina. Here’s what should be included:
- Name, address, and phone number of the trip leader
- Name and phone numbers of all passengers
- Boat type and registration information
- Trip itinerary
- Types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
- Use Lifejackets: Assign and fit each member onboard with a life jacket prior to departure. For extra precaution, keep it on during the duration of the trip.
- Avoid Alcohol: Did you know that the probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved? Not to mention, studies show the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by the sun and wind. Keep everyone safe by waiting until you are docked before indulging in too many adult beverages.
- Take a Boating Course: While boater education requirements vary by state, both experienced and beginning boaters should be familiar with boating safety rules. So therefore, regardless of your state’s rules, consider taking a boating class – even if it’s just a refresher course.
- Take Advantage of a Free Vessel Safety Check: Did you know the U.S. Coast Guard offers complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations? At no cost to you, they will provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations.
Do you own a boat? Boating insurance is another necessary precaution against unforeseen events that could occur. For information on our insurance policies or to obtain a quote, please contact us today!