Boating is a fun activity that all ages can enjoy. However, it’s essential to know that boating comes with many risks, and you should always practice safety to reduce accidents. Marine accidents are all too common, but there are ways you can reduce your risk of being involved in one. Here are boating safety tips to help make your time on the water more enjoyable and safer.
1. Always Wear a Life Jacket
Accidents that happen in deep water can be fatal. Always wear a life jacket, even if you are a good swimmer. Avoiding going on the boat is best if you don’t have a life jacket. The life jacket should cover your head and chest while still being able to move your arms and legs. The life jacket can save your life by helping you float without struggling for air or getting tired too quickly, especially if you get caught in currents or waves.
You never know when you might fall off the boat and need to stay afloat until help arrives. Such a safety measure could help someone escape from an overturned boat before experiencing hypothermia. Be mindful of children and have them wear their life jackets, and make sure they buckle up securely so they won’t slip out of it as you drive away from shore. You can check the Boating Accidents Infographic for more detailed information about boating accidents and safety.
2. Take a Boating Safety Course
It’s always a good idea to take a boating safety course, even if you’ve been boating for years. The more you learn about the things that can go wrong on the water and how to correct them, the better off you’ll be. A boating safety course will bring you up to speed with what types of problems there are and some of the dangers associated with your particular type of boat.
You will also be able to understand navigation rules and regulations in your area, along with know-how for handling emergencies. A boating safety course will equip you with modern safety-related devices such as Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), flares, radar reflectors, fire extinguishers, and other equipment. These devices make it easier to find stranded boats or those involved in an accident at sea or rivers/lakes.
3. Go Slow with the Booze
The U.S. Coast Guard statistics report that alcohol was involved in over half of the recreational boating fatalities in the U.S. Alcohol slows your reflexes and makes it harder for you to react quickly or make good decisions. You may think you can go faster or farther than you actually can, which puts you at risk of colliding with another boat or object in the water or capsizing and sinking your vessel.
Poor judgment is also a concern when operating a boat under the influence of drugs or prescription medication. If you have taken a stimulant like amphetamine, driving would be risky even if you were not impaired. These substances can slow your response time and coordination skills when driving around obstacles or through challenging waters.
4. Maintaining Your Boat
Failure of vital components like the boat’s engine and steering mechanism may happen at any time. That is why it is crucial to organize an inspection for your vessel by a certified marine mechanic as often as the manufacturer recommends. When you have an issue, don’t try to fix it yourself. Seek professional help immediately, so the problem doesn’t grow out of control.
That way, you can ensure that your boat can perform optimally and reduce the risk of accidents in boating. It will also save you money in repairs because your equipment will always function at its best. The boat operator is responsible for ensuring that they’re operating a well-maintained and seaworthy vessel.
5. Follow Good Practice Boating
Boating requires discipline and patience, so follow good practice and safety tips to reduce boating accidents. Developing such a boating culture will help make your experience more enjoyable. Don’t forget the importance of having the proper skills before attempting any boat ride, even if it is just going out on the water with friends.
Make sure that everyone onboard understands basic safety measures before you set sail. Even if someone is watching from the shore, ensure they know what to do in an emergency. Check the weather forecast often and listen to authorities when they say no boating today. For example, The National Weather Service may issue warnings against traveling by boat or kayak because conditions are not favorable for safe travel
Boating is a popular recreational activity, but it can also be dangerous. To help reduce accidents, always follow the necessary precautions and navigation rules for boating safety. Always wear your life jacket on any watercraft, whether standing on deck or rafting down a stream. You never know what could happen! However, if you suffer injuries from a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney about your legal options.