Six Recreational Boating Safety Tips

It’s no secret that recreational boating can be dangerous, but following proper safety protocols can minimize the risk of accidents on the water. Whether you’ve just purchased a boat or you’re a seasoned captain, it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with essential boating safety tips.

Stay safe on the water by keeping the following tips in mind.

Don’t drink and boat

You wouldn’t operate a car while drinking, so follow the same philosophy while you’re on a boat. It’s unwise to drink alcohol while boating—whether you’re operating the craft or not. Leave the alcohol on dry land, and stay safe and alert while you’re on the water.

Take a boating safety class

The majority of boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator failed to complete a basic safety course. A small investment of time can keep you and your group safe as you enjoy life on the water. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary to learn more about courses in your region.

Bring life jackets

Life jackets play a major role in boating safety. They not only keep you afloat, but they can even turn an unconscious person face up and can help prevent hypothermia. All boats are required to have U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for every person on board. In some parts of the country, children must wear life jackets the entire time they’re on a boat. Choose a life jacket that features auto and manual inflatable vests—they turn an unconscious wearer face up.

Check the weather

Keeping a close eye on the weather before you head out to the water is one of the most essential boating safety tips. Even if it appears to be a sunny day outside, you can’t predict when a storm will roll in just by sight only. Look for varying gusts of wind and choppy waters, and pay attention to the weather forecast to determine whether it’s safe to boat.

Don’t overload

Understand and follow your boat’s capacity guidelines. Overloading a boat can cause it to float unbalanced. As you can expect, this is potentially dangerous for everyone on board.

Create a safety kit

Since you can’t predict when you’ll face an emergency situation, keep a boat safety kit on board just in case. Essential items to keep on board include:

  • Flashlight: A flashlight and some extra batteries will help you see in the dark and allow you to be seen if you’ve run out of fuel or you’ve stalled.
  • First aid kit: A well-stocked first aid kit (and knowledge on how to use the items) is essential in case of an emergency.
  • Duct tape: Essential if your boat springs a leak.
  • Fire extinguisher: Onboard fires are dangerous. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and keep all passengers aware of its location.

Recreational boating is only fun when it’s done safely. Follow the tips described above to enjoy safe travels on the water, and always make sure you’re covered by the proper insurance policies in case of accidents. Contact Harvey Sarles Insurance Agency to learn more about the coverage you need for your recreational craft.

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