It’s important to stay safe when pursuing the boating life and doing so allows you to really enjoy the lifestyle. Whether you have passengers on board or you’re boating solo, safety should be the first priority every single time. Following common sense safety tips allows for fun to be had by all and a great experience on the water.
Along with maintaining proper speeds, you should not drink and drive, and you should have a way to reach out for help if there’s an emergency. Take a look at the top 5 common sense boater safety tips that you should know.
Check the weather before you go
The first tip is to be aware of the weather when you’re planning to head out on the water. If it’s going to be a warm and sunny day, it’s perfect conditions for you to head out. If you see that there is a storm coming, you may want to consider going another time.
Even a warm day in the spring when the water is still cold from the winter, you could have issues in the event that you capsize. Consider air and water temperatures, as well as potentials storms and wind gusts.
Don’t drink and drive
While it’s acceptable for alcohol to be on boats, the driver should not partake. It’s not only illegal to drink and drive, but it’s putting your whole crew at risk. Many boating accidents happen from alcohol influence. You can have difficulty driving a boat without much signage and often no marked channels as it is, but if you mix alcohol with this equation, it makes things much more difficult and dangerous.
Have emergency gear ready
You should always have life jackets ready for all of your passengers, but you should also have other emergency gear ready to go. Even duct tape can be helpful. A bucket will help you if water enters the vessel.
Check your ladder before you leave and remember the lines [ropes]… they are important to help someone get back on board if they’ve gone over. Garbage bags can work as rain ponchos or to protect things on board. A whistle and mirror can help you to get the attention of another boat if you need help and keep emergency telephone numbers close, so you can call for help if you need to.
Of course, you shouldn’t be speeding in slow zones on the water. Responsible boaters know that you don’t speed in any congested area either. In addition, you need to always be ready to slow down.
If you were to run into the unpredictable wake of another boat while going fast you could end up sending your passengers flying out of the boat. Many types of accidents can happen on the water and it’s important to always be ready and vigilant for any situation. Always error on the side of slowing down.
Get your boat checked
Lastly, make sure you prepare for being on the water by having your boat checked out through a vessel check. This can be done for free by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Just schedule your safety check to make sure you’re prepared before a day out with other passengers. It will keep them and your boat safer. [Jax Boat Club will take care of this on club boats, of course.]
Follow these 5 common sense boater safety tips so that everyone can enjoy being on the water and feel at ease doing so.