Boater Safety Tips
Prepare yourself for the unexpected
My dad questioned for years why he needed a throw cushion on board. He figured if he went over and he was by himself there wouldn’t be anyone there to even throw it.
It wasn’t until a broken brake line on his skiff that caused him to be thrown off, that he realized why everyone needed them on board. Luckily, a couple happened to pass by him that early morning and tossed him their throw cushion. I am very thankful that the couple was prepared for an unexpected event like my dad’s. Accidents can happen when we least expect it, so be sure that you are doing everything you can to be prepared.
The Safe Boating Council has done an amazing job at promoting the safety of all boaters. They come out with new safety campaigns each year to give boaters a fresh reminder of the dangers in boating that can be prevented. They also provide boaters with many resources such as checklists, posters, classes, and more. Some of the tips we will list below were found on their website.
Tips for your safety while boating
NSBC’s campaign this year is “Boat Responsibly and Wear It.” Not wearing a life jacket can make a bad situation much worse. So when you are out enjoying the water with friends and family, be a good role model and wear yours, and be sure that your loved ones are wearing theirs.
Be aware of the weather.
A bad storm can seem to come out of nowhere sometimes. Make sure you are up to date on the forecast before you head out on the water. You never want to put yourself in harms way, so if there is a good possibility of bad weather, it may be best to stay on land.
Know the waters you are traveling.
With GPSs on boats and cell phones, a lot of boaters can get a false sense of confidence in knowing where they are going. Some boaters will try boating at night, thinking their GPS knows it all. Not every structure is going to show up on that little screen, so it’s a good idea to gain some knowledge by talking to other boaters or just testing the waters during the day, and getting a good sense of the area, before attempting it in the dark.
Always be aware of other boats.
Be sure that you are constantly looking out for other vessels in the water. If you every feel unsure about an oncoming boat and whether he sees you, simply slow down or maneuver yourself out of his path.
Don’t drink and drive.
Although drinking on the boat makes you feel like Jimmy Buffet, it’s not okay to have a full blown happy hour, especially if you are the one navigating the boat. Your friends and family are relying on you to get them back safe and sound, and you can’t promise that if you are under the influence. Always be responsible, and choose not to drink while operating a boat.
Be sure you have all your safety equipment on board.
Like I stated above, accidents happen. Make sure you have taken every measure you can to keep you and your “crew” safe. Have all your safety equipment on board, and even have your boat checked by the Coast Guard to be sure your boat meets expectations.
Keeping these tips in mind, will guarantee you have a fun and safe time out on the boat. So, be safe and Happy Sailing!
Be sure to check out the website for more tips on staying safe!