The number of boating injuries and fatalities has decreased substantially in recent years.
This is a result of increased awareness of boating safety tips and responsible boat owners.
Boating can be a fulfilling hobby or a fun experience while on vacation. Whether you are a ship captain or are just getting your sea legs, brushing up on basic boating safety tips could save your life.
Keeping reading for a list of boating tips that will keep your time on the water fun and safe.
Table of Contents
Take a Boating Class
Boating experts and beginners alike have to be familiar with the rules of boat operation and safety.
One of the best ways to learn or refresh your knowledge is by taking a boating safety course. Different states have different boater education requirements, but some states require proof of completion of at least one course.
Even if your state does not require you to take a boating safety course, we recommend taking one because they can help you prepare for the unexpected and potentially save your life. Courses are offered locally in communities or online.
You won’t regret taking a boating safety course if the unexpected happens.
Before setting sail it’s important to make sure your boat is fully functional and ready for the water.
The US Coast Guard offers free boat safety checks. These complimentary safety checks will make sure you have the necessary and required safety equipment per state and federal regulations. A specialist will examine your boat and can even provide boating safety tips and water safety tips at no cost to you.
They will also make any recommendations that they deem necessary to ensure your safety while on your boat. If you are looking for convenience, they offer virtual online safety checks too.
Take Swimming Lessons
Being able to swim strongly is an essential safety tip for anyone who plans to be in or around the water, including those on boats.
Although you might not plan to be in the water, you never know what will happen and being a strong swimmer could save your life.
If you haven’t swum since you were a child or you never learned to swim, now is the time to sharpen your skills. Many community organizations including the American Red Cross and the YMCA offer swim lessons for all ages and abilities.
You should avoid alcohol while using your boat. Being under the influence of alcohol doubles your chances of being in a boat related accident.
The effects of alcohol are also increased by the sun and wind, both common elements that boaters are exposed while on the water.
Basic boating rules say that alcohol should be saved for later and never used while operating a boat. If you have been in a boating accident, contact an attorney to learn more about your options.
We all know the importance of lifejackets and yet the majority of drowning victims were not wearing a lifejacket when they lost their lives.
Simply wearing a lifejacket would have saved their lives.
You want to make sure each person on your boat is assigned a lifejacket and that the lifejacket is fitted to them before you set sail. Each person should wear their lifejacket at all times. This simple safety tip could be life-saving, especially if you didn’t take swimming lessons.
One of the simplest boating safety tips is to be aware of your surroundings and operate your boat with common sense.
You should maintain a safe speed at all times but especially in more crowded areas. Avoid steering too close to large boats that will likely have difficulty stopping and turning.
Avoid buoys and navigational aids that are in the water to promote the safety of boaters like yourself.
Have a Backup Plan
If you are the primary operator and navigator of your boat, designate an assistant skipper to take over operations in the event that you are unable to perform your duties.
You want to assign this person ahead of time and make sure he or she is capable of handling and operating your boat and understands boating safety tips. If you are incapacitated, this person can navigate the boat in order to get it and its passengers back to shore safely.
It’s best to have more than one person on the boat who is capable of assuming this role.
And a Float Plan
Before setting sail, you want to make sure you inform someone at home where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. You can provide this information to a family member or a staff member at your local marina.
You’ll want to make sure your float plan includes the names and contact information for yourself and all passengers, the registration information for the boat, where you are going and when you will be back, and the types of communication and signal devices on board that you will use in case of an emergency.
Watch the Weather
Nothing has the potential to impact your boating trip more than the weather.
Be sure to check the local weather and the weather for the area you plan to travel before setting sail. You can find this information on TV, internet, or radio.
Pay attention to the sky and if you see signs of a storm such as dark clouds, changing winds, or a sudden change in temperature, get off the water.
Develop a Checklist
Before the day of your trip, develop a checklist including safety equipment and things to check on the boat before departing.
On the day of your trip, you might be excited and might forget something important. Develop the checklist ahead of time and go through it with your designated skipper on the day of departure.
For More Boating Tips
If you are looking for more boating tips consider signing up for a boating class or contacting the US Coast Guard.
When it comes to boating, being prepared is essential to the safety of yourself and your passengers. Be sure to check your state requirements before setting sail.
For more travel tips, check out our blog.