Boating is a fantastic experience, especially on calm waters. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the company of your boat mates. What’s more, boating feels safer than driving – you won’t have to worry about traffic or even follow traffic laws.
Unfortunately, thousands of people are injured or even killed every year in boating accidents. Therefore, before you hop on your boat, ensure that you follow these five tips to keep you safe while on the water.
Ensure your boat is well-maintained
A well-maintained boat is much safer. Most boat accidents occur due to poor boat maintenance and they run into trouble more often. For instance, if you have a faulty battery, your boat may not start, and when this happens at night, your lights won’t work.
This means that you and your boat will be stranded and practically invisible. To avoid such problems, ensure that your boat is well maintained and get a vessel checkup before your departure.
Be prepared for an emergency
Before you leave, you should ensure that you have all the boating safety equipment and that everything is in good working condition. In addition, ensure that you know how to use your safety equipment.
Part of being prepared for an emergency is knowing what to do in case of a boating accident. If you get into a boating accident, ensure that you assess your medical needs, get your boat out of harm’s way, gather evidence about the accident, and speak with an experienced boat accident lawyer.
Load your boat properly
Before your departure, the first rule of thumb you should remember is never to overload your boat. Packing people like sardines and towing a lily pad behind your boat is an accident waiting to happen. While it’s ok to bring everything with you for an enjoyable boating experience, the problem often is to reload the boat as you exit to go home.
Reloading your boat with stuff can be a problem, especially when there are cooler lids, floaties, buckets, and other stuff that can fly out of the boat. When things start flying in the boat, they can hit the console and block your view, causing you to swerve, which can throw you or your passengers out of the boat.
To prevent such a scenario, ensure that your passengers have a safe place to sit and that everything loose is safely tied down so that it doesn’t fly out of the boat.
Don’t operate your boat under the influence
According to a recent U.S. Coast Guard report, alcohol use is the leading cause of recreational boating accidents. Drinking and boating is illegal, but being under the influence around water is dangerous. This is because alcohol and drugs impair your judgment and the ability to slow your reflexes.
Therefore, while operating a boat under the influence may not seem as dangerous as drinking and driving, it is inherently dangerous, especially if you’re operating your boat while there are passengers on board or swimmers, boaters, or kayakers in the water.
Carry safety items
Before your next boating adventure, remember to pack a few items. One of the safety items that should be on top of your list is the life jacket. Ensure that all passengers wear their life jackets properly. In addition, it’s important to have a floatation device for all passengers, which can include tethers and safety harnesses.
If you will be out in the dark, remember to keep a light on so that other boaters can see you. Also, always check the weather before your departure.
Just like operating a car, boating takes a lot of responsibility – you should protect yourself, protect everyone on board, and other people on the water. Therefore, ensure you follow all the above safety tips to prevent a boating accident.