It’s Boating Season – Make Safety a Priority
There’s no finer way to celebrate the warmer weather than taking your boat out onto the open water. And after waiting all winter to get back out there, you won’t want to be sidelined by a break down or safety emergency. The best time to make sure your vessel, equipment, and safety items are in proper order is before your first launch of the season. Use these following tips to ensure a safe season for you and your passengers:
- Wear Lifejackets
The majority of fatal drownings are the result of boaters not wearing a lifejacket. Be sure each member of your onboard team has one prior to disembarking.
- Save the Alcohol for Later
Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in all fatal boating accidents. The likelihood of being involved in any boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Recent studies show that sun and wind compound the effects of alcohol so imbibing when boating is twice as dangerous.
- Operate at a Safe Speed and Avoid Distractions
The dangers of distracted driving aren’t limited to the road – be alert to large vessels and other watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also be mindful of buoys and other navigational aids/signals to ensure boater safety. And most importantly, operate at a safe speed (especially in congested areas).
- Have an Assistant Skipper
In the event the primary navigator becomes injured or incapacitated in some way, it is crucial that someone else on board is familiar with properly handling the vessel to be sure everyone gets back to shore safely.
- Be Mindful of the Weather
Weather can change quickly while you’re out on the water so be sure to check the Weather Channel, local TV/radio, or visit the NOAA website. Take heed if the weather calls for Small Craft Advisories or storm warnings.
- Get a Free Vessel Safety Check
The US Coast Guard offers complimentary boat examinations both in person and online where you can have your vessel examined for safety and obtain helpful tips and recommendations.
- Choose the Proper Insurance Policy for Your Boat. Options can include:
-Personal property on the boat
-Bodily injury or damage to the property of others
-Damage in the event of a collision
-Assistance to transport your boat if stranded