It’s always a good idea to review boating safety rules before you set sail, no matter how much experience you have. We have found 10 basic boating safety tips to help keep you safe while you are on the water this summer.
- Be Weather-Wise: Always check your local weather before you depart. The TV and radio forecasts can be a useful source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, rough changing winds or a sudden drop in the temperature, please play it safe and get off the water.
- Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist: Proper boating safety should include being prepared for anything on the water. By following a pre-departure checklist, you have the best way to make sure no boating safety rule have been overlooked or forgotten.
- Using Common Sense: Using your common sense is one of the most important parts of boating safety. You should be operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded boating areas), staying alert at all times and staying clear of large vessels that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your safety.
- Have an Assistant Skipper: You should make sure more than just you, is familiar with all the aspects of your boat’s handling, operations and general boat safety. If you, the primary navigator, is injured or incapacitated in any way, it is important to make sure someone else that is aboard can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone back to shore.
- Make a Float Plan: If you choose to inform a family member or staff member at your local marina, you should always let someone else know your float plan. This plan should include where you are going and how long you are going to be gone. A float plan may include: names and phone numbers of all members on the boat, the type of boat and registration, your trip itinerary and what type of communication you have on board, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
- Using Your Lifejackets Properly: Many drowning victims are the result of boaters no wearing their lifejackets. Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a lifejacket prior to your departure.
- Avoid Alcohol: You can practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles wen alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
- Learn to Swim: If you are new to boating or you are seasoned veteran of boating, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.
- Take a Boating Course: Beginning and experienced boaters alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some states require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Even if your state doesn’t require a course, it is always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise.
- Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check: The US Coast Guard offers free vessel safety checks. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The will provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations, free of charge. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.
We know having a boat is fun, we just want to keep you and your family safe. Enjoy the water and know that Frimark/Keller & Associates have been protecting boaters since, 1910, with a boater’s insurance plan that fits your specific needs.