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It’s Boating Time Again! Navigate the Season Safely with these Tips

boatIf you’re a boating enthusiast, the warmer temperatures mean it’s time to get back out there on the water! Now is a great time, before your first launch of the season, to be sure your vessel, safety items, and other equipment are in proper order. Use these tips to be ready for smooth sailing:

Avoid Alcohol
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.

Wear Life Jackets
Most drownings are the direct result of boaters not wearing lifejackets. Ensure that all on board your vessel have and wear a lifejacket.

Check 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. Pay specific attention to Small Craft Advisories or storm warnings.

Avoid Distractions and Operate at a Safe Speed
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).

Take Advantage of the US Coast Guard’s 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.

Be Sure Your Vessel is Properly Insured
Options include:
-Damage in the event of a collision
-Bodily injury or damage to the property of others
-Personal property on the boat
-Assistance to transport your boat if stranded