It doesn’t matter if you are a new boater or if you have been boating for years, you should still take time to review basic boating safety tips before you head out on the water. Follow these tips and you will have a safe enjoyable boating experience.
Always Check the Weather Forecast
The sun may be shining and the skies may be blue when you leave the pier, but the weather can turn bad in a moment. Always check your local weather forecast before you head out for the day. You can catch the forecast on TV or the radio. You also can get an up to date forecast at any time of day on your smart phone. If you are out on the water and you do notice the wind picking up and dark clouds rolling in, head for the dock, even if there is no bad weather forecasted.
Run Down Your Checklist before Departure
Always run through your checklist before you head out for the day. Check to make sure you have adequate personal flotation devices in your boat. Make sure that all the lights on your boat and trailer are working properly. Carry a fire extinguisher and a signal horn or flare gun in your boat. Check your boat over and make sure your battery is fully charged and you have an anchor on board.
Follow the Rules
Be a safe boater and follow all the posted signs. Observe no wake zone areas. Don’t go too fast, especially in crowded areas. Stay alert and don’t go to close to other watercraft. Buoys and other aids are in place for your safety, stay within the buoys.
Have each member of your boating party put on a life jacket or other personal floatation device before you leave the dock. In a true emergency, they may not have time to find and put on a life jacket, so they should put one on before you go out on the water. If you are going to be spending time on the water, you should learn how to swim, if you don’t already know how.
Don’t Drink and Boat
A safe boater never drinks alcohol while they are boating. Alcohol use dramatically increases the possibility that you will be involved in an accident. In addition, be aware that some over the counter medications can also make you extremely tired. Always check the package before taking medications and going out in your boat.
Enroll in a Boating Safety Course
Everyone who goes out in a boat should be familiar with the safety rules for boating. Some states require you to pass a boating safety class. But even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s still a good idea to take the class. You will learn about your state’s boating laws and general boating safety rules.
If you follow these simple tips, you have a safe, fun boating experience. Remember to always be prepared and have a great time.