6 Need-To-Know Boating Safety Tips
Americans love to go boating.
An estimated 74 million Americans enjoy the thrill of boating each year.
After a hard week at work, there is nothing better than gliding against the water in your boat and having fun with family and friends. But at these times when we expect to loosen up and relax, we can forget one thing: safety.
For example, what should you do if:
1. Your boat sinks,
2. You are left stranded in the ocean, or
3. You crash into another boat?
How Can You Stay Safe?
In 2015, there were 4,158 accidents and of those accidents, 626 people were killed and 2,613 injured. (Coast Guard)
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you have to think on your feet and stay calm. But a calm demeanor is not enough. You have to be prepared. In this article, we are not going to describe every situation that you can find yourself in, but rather, help you prepare yourself so that you can avoid getting in an accident and, if you do get in an accident, have the tools you need to survive and get everyone to safety.
Let’s get started!
Boating Safety Tips
1. Wear a Life Jacket - According to the coast guard, 78% of boating deaths are attributed to drowning. Of those deaths, 84% of them were not wearing life jackets. Think about it! What if the water is freezing? Could you tread water for hours waiting for help while hypothermia sets in? If you have a life jacket on you will have a chance.
2. Do Not Drink - We all know this! Nothing good comes from drinking and boating. Of all boating accidents which ended in a fatality, 15% of them were attributed to alcohol use. If you are caught operating a boat while intoxicated, you could be hit with a $1,000 fine and even face criminal penalties of up to $5,000 and jail time.
3. Let People Know Your Plans - If you are in an accident, you might not be able to make contact with anyone. In this case, you could be left stranded without anyone knowing where you are or how to find you. Tell people when you are going, where you are going, and what time you expect to be back. Every bit of information helps.
4. Bring Communication - Cell phones do not cut it. Cell phones do not always have reception in areas that you will go boating in. Carry with you a VHF radio and a handheld GPS so you can call out for help and give out your location. The coast guard and many other boats monitor channel 16, so use that first.
5. Dress for the Water - It maybe a hot summer day, but the water can still be freezing cold. If the water is freezing, then you might need an insulated floatation device versus a regular life jacket. Research where you will be boating and wear the proper equipment.
6. Get a Boat Inspection - The National Guard offers a free safety boat inspection. Even if you fail, there are no penalties. They just want to make boating safer for everyone! If you are interested, click here to schedule your inspection.
Boating should be a relaxing experience, so have fun! Knowing that you are fully prepared can give you the peace of mind you need to relax on your trip, rather than worrying about everyone else's safety. Also, if you want to improve your safety immensely, take a boating course! 71% of deaths happen when a boat operator does not have a nationally-accredited safety course.
We hope this information helps. Stay safe and enjoy your time out on the water!