The sun is shining, the water is calling … the boating season is officially here. But before you start your boat, it is important to update your memory with tips on boat safety. From watching the weather to keeping life jackets on trailers, these tips will make for a safer and more enjoyable day on the water.
Ready to hit the water? Be prepared with these 13 safety tips:
- Be smart on the water. Just like in a car or on a motorcycle, use common sense on the water. Stay awake, do not boat while you are sleepy, keep your distance between other boaters, drive at a safe speed and make sure that the passengers are safe throughout the journey.
- Be careful with the weather forecast. Being weatherproof is one of the most important skills for safe boating. Before leaving the quay, check local weather conditions to make sure it is safe to be on the water. Then keep an eye on the sky, the winds and the temperature. If you notice sudden changes, go back directly to the beach immediately.
- Share your plane. Give at least one person your itinerary – including where you are going and how long you are away in emergencies.
- Bring a life jacket for everyone on board. All passengers should have easy access to a US Coast Guard approved life jacket. Although the rules vary by state, each state requires a life jacket for each person on board. In addition, life jackets should be fitted to each individual (children's vests should be on board for children).
- Have a disposable buoyancy device immediately available. Whether it's a floating seat cushion or a floating ring, always have something available to throw to someone who has fallen into the water.
- Test your horn. To communicate with other boats and send danger signals, make sure that the boat's horns can be heard.
- Appoint an assistant skipper or helmsman. More than one person on board should know how to use the boat if they need to get in and get everyone back safely ashore.
- Keep your navigation lights on from sunset to sunrise. If you are traveling at night, it is important to make sure that all other boats can see you.
- Do not overload your boat. Carry only the amount of passengers and / or goods that your boat can safely handle.
- Keep emergency consumption on board. Stay safe by always having charts, stains, fire extinguishers, an emergency blanket and a first aid kit.
- Listen for the carbon monoxide alarm. If toxic fumes are generated from the engine, a carbon monoxide alarm will sound so you can take action.
- Switch off the engine when approaching the swimmer. To reduce the risk of propeller damage, turn off the boat's engine and keep swimmers in sight – always on the driver's side of the boat.
- Deal with how you dress. Wear shoes with non-slip soles to prevent injuries, consider waterproof clothing and wear sunglasses and sunscreen for a safer ride.
In addition to these 13 safety tips for boating, our spring checklist can help you get your boat out of storage and safely in the water.
Are you looking for extra protection? Talk to one of our local, independent agents about water shot insurance today.