The weather is warming up, and you know what that means: boating season. Many people look forward to this activity because it’s a great way to relax, have fun and make memories.
However, without the proper precautions, it’s easy for disaster to strike, including boating accidents. These can cause various injuries and even fatalities.
Before heading out on the water, consider these important safety tips for recreational boating.
Wear Life Jackets
Always wear a life jacket when you go boating. This safety measure can save lives. In fact, 86% of boaters who drowned during an accident were not wearing this key piece of safety equipment.
Life jackets not only keep you afloat, but they can also help prevent hypothermia. Ensure the jacket is properly fitted and easy to put on in an emergency.
Check the Weather
It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before going boating. This is because being on a boat in inclement weather can be dangerous.
If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, strong winds, or other perilous conditions, it’s best to avoid going out on the water.
Wait until the forecast is clear. After all, lightning strikes that hit boats can be fatal, and rough waters might cause the vessel to capsize.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Before setting out on the water, ensure that you’ve packed an emergency kit. A well-stocked kit typically includes a first aid kit, flashlight, handheld flares, fire extinguisher, whistle, ropes, and duct tape.
You should also make sure that the equipment is in good condition in case it needs to be used in an emergency.
While you’re at it, you should also regularly check the propeller for trapped debris or damage, inspect the fuel lines and wash the boat.
Don’t Boat and Drink
Avoid boating while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, alcohol consumption is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents that are fatal.
Other contributing factors include excessive speed, operator inattention, and machinery failure.
In any case, you can still have fun and make memories on and in the water while staying sober.
Take a Boating Safety Course
Before spending the day out on the water, make sure that you feel confident and comfortable at the helm. You can achieve this by completing a boating safety education course.
These courses are taught by certified boating safety instructors. You’ll learn how to operate your vessel and how to check your equipment, as well as important safety measures.
Additionally, taking this course can help you avoid boating accidents.
Be Aware of Other Boaters
No matter if you’re on a river, lake, or ocean, you’ll likely be sharing the water with other boaters.
For this reason, it’s crucial to be mindful of them and follow any water traffic rules or patterns. For example, give bigger vessels the right of way.
Don’t Overload the Vessel
Be mindful of the vessel’s maximum capacity. Overloading the boat with equipment and people can cause it to become unbalanced.
For more recreational boating safety tips, check out the accompanying resource.
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