Boating activity soars in summer, as do boating incidents. According to a report by US Coast Guard, 767 boating fatalities occurred nationwide in 2020, which was a 25.1% increase from 2019. Yes, the statistics are sobering, but we can minimize these accidents with a bit of precaution.
Boating safety is more than just about understanding navigational rules and obeying the safety procedures. You need to pre-plan your cruise to avoid any problems, whether on a lake or open waters.
Following are ten boating safety tips that you need to follow:
1. Wear a Life Jacket… ALWAYS
What are your plans?
- A quick boating expedition
- Picnic with your partner
No matter what you are doing, it is necessary to wear a life jacket. Nowadays, you can find plenty of life jacket design for any type of adventure such as watersports, cruising, hunting, paddling, fishing, etc., so you don’t have to wear about it cramping your style.
2. Never Drink Alcohol Before Your Trip
This one is pretty straightforward. Alcohol can dull your senses, leading to a higher risk of an accident. Anything can happen, from turning the boat too fast and tipping it to accidentally falling into the water.
3. Do a Safety Check
A few necessary things that you need to have on your boat are your registration, flares, running lights, approved fire extinguishers (if the boat has an engine), sunscreen, water, a pair of extra clothing, and more.
4. Brush Up On the Boating Laws
Every state has different boating laws. For example, in Ontario, children under the age of 16 may not operate a boat that is over a specific horsepower limit. They cannot operate a PWC under any circumstances.
5. Watch for Bad Weather
Before leaving the dock, check your local weather news to ensure no storm or heavy rainfall is forecasted. Weather changes rapidly… one minute, you might be sailing on smooth water, and the next, trying to get out of the path of the high waves. So, keep a radio with you to signal someone on the shoreline that you want a backup.
6. Watch Out for the Boat Propellers
Boat propellers can cause serious injuries. Before untying the boat from the dock, make sure to do a headcount and that no one has their hand in the water.
7. Help Others After Helping Yourself
If someone accidentally falls into the water, do not jump after them immediately. First, turn off the engine and the propellers, take off your shoes and wear a life jacket. Make sure to float on your back to drag the fallen to safety.
8. Don’t Swim in a Marina
When boats are docked at the marina, they are connected to the shore power. This stray power ripples an electric shock through the water, which can be dangerous.
9. Keep a First Aid Kit With You
Keep an advanced first aid kit with you for people who often get sea-sick.
10. Have a Whistle as Backup
What if your radio runs out of battery and you are too far out of range? This is what a whistle is for. If you get stranded on water and see someone far out, you can blow the whistle to signal them for help.
And there you have it ― 10 boating safety rules that will keep you safe on the water.
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