After a winter cooped up at home, a day on the water is an excellent way to bring your friends and family together to enjoy the beauty of nature. Boats are coming out of storage and going back in the water for the first time this season. Taking the time to stop and think about safety can keep a relaxing day from becoming a rough day on the water.
Here are some boating tips to make your next adventure safe and fun.
Wear a life jacket
While it is not required for people over a certain age to wear a life jacket, it is required to have one on board for each passenger and recommended that you wear one. 84% of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets. Make sure everyone on the boat has a life jacket that properly fits before leaving shore.
Check the weather
Always keep a close eye on the weather when you are onboard a boat. Check it often and head back to the shore right away if you see darkening clouds, rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature.
Follow navigation water rules
It is important to know the boat traffic rules when operating a vessel. Rules on the water are different than rules on the road. Operator error accounts for approximately 70% of boating accidents. Many communities and organizations offer free or online boater safety courses.
Give your boat a full inspection
Before getting onboard, check your engine for any issues and leaks, ensure lights are functioning, check all electrical components and be sure that wiring is not damaged. You should also make sure that your radio devices are functioning properly and that your boat is equipped with a marine-type fire extinguisher. For your added peace of mind, the U.S. Coast Guard provides free vessel safety examinations. It is also important when checking your boat to make sure the required safety equipment is onboard. Each vessel is required by law to have certain items onboard. Some of these items include life jackets, a fire extinguisher, flairs, a whistle/horn, a first aid kit and more.
Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to prevent bug bites if you are going out around dawn and dusk. Wear nonslip shoes to help prevent slipping or falling overboard. Also, light colors are recommended, as they will keep you cool in the bright sun.
Never operate a boat under the influence
Just like driving a car, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any operators on board should not consume any alcoholic beverages before or during operation of the boat.
Have a float plan
It is important to have someone that is remaining on land informed of your boating plans. Always notify them of your plan for the entire day and when you plan to return. It is suggested by the U.S. Coast Guard that a float plan includes:
name, address and phone number of trip leader
name and phone number of all passengers
boat type and registration information
types of communication and signal equipment onboard
Have you been injured in a boating accident?
By following our safety tips, you and your loved ones should have fun all summer long. We want you to keep your marine adventures safe! If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact the personal injury experts at Hupy and Abraham for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us anytime at Hupy.com.