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Top 7 Essential Boating Safety Tips

Boating Safety Tips

Top 7 Essential Boating Safety Tips

Want to know some great tips for yachting and boating this summer? Keep reading to here our top b

In 2018, there were at least 4,145 recreational boating accidents in the United States.  Hundreds of lives and tens of millions of dollars were lost as a result of these accidents.

Sadly, the vast majority of boating accidents that occur across the country are easily preventable. The problem is that essential boating safety tips often take a backseat when many people take their vessels to the sea.

Now that the summer boating season is here, there’s no better time than this to refresh your mind on how you can stay safe in the water. In this comprehensive guide, we give you several boating and water safety tips to help you keep your cruise from taking a wrong turn.

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Seven Surefire Boating Safety Tips to Prevent Accidents this Summer

Every boater should prioritize the safety of everyone on board at all times. The following boater safety tips can help you do just that.

1. Avoid Alcohol Before or While Boating

Many Americans who own boats would never consider drinking before driving a vehicle. However, the same people are more casual about drinking alcohol before setting sail or while enjoying boat meals.

The truth, however, is that boating under the influence (BUI) is just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car. A third of all recreational boating fatalities happen as a result of alcohol. Alcohol impairs your judgment while on water, and the hazards can even be more serious than while you’re on land.

Currently, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, and the legal consequences of doing so can be grave. Depending on where you live, the penalties of BUI can include substantial fines, felony conviction, jail time, the loss of boat operating privileges, and so on.

2. Always Wear a Life Jacket

The vast majority of fatal accident victims die as a result of drowning. Of the victims who drown, 83 percent were not wearing a life jacket. The simple precaution of wearing a life jacket, therefore, can save the lives of hundreds of people annually.

Some states only demand that boaters have life jackets accessible on the boat, instead of you wearing one. However, in case of a sudden unexpected boating accident, people may not have time to reach for life jackets. It’s the reason you need to have one at all times.

Keep in mind that children are required by law to have a life jacket in all states.  Be sure to get appropriately-sized life jackets for any kids on board as adult-sized jackets don’t work for children. Test life jackets at least once per year and replace those that have lost buoyancy or become worn out.

3. Have Appropriate Safety Gear

Besides life jackets, there’s a host of other boating safety items you need to have on board at all times, regardless of the size or type of your boat. A first aid kit, for instance, is essential in case of an injury or medical emergency while on board.

Make sure you have a flashlight and some extra batteries to help you see around your boat in case you run out of fuel in the dark. A flashlight can also enable other boats to see you in the night in case the vessel stalls. Have a waterproof as well in case you need to signal for help.

Every vessel also needs to have ropes for pulling someone out of the water in case they’ve fallen overboard. Ropes can also help secure items in the event of extreme weather.

Other essential items include a fire extinguisher, a mirror, a cell phone, flares, and maps.

4. Take a Boating Safety Course

In most states, boaters must take some type of boating safety course and be certified before operating a boat. Such a course does not just help you understand the boating laws in your state, but it also helps you know what to do in an emergency situation.

Even if it’s not mandatory to take such a course in your state, consider enrolling for one before taking to the waters in one of the great boating destinations across the country. Often, these courses are free and don’t take much of your time.

5. Conduct a Pre-Boarding Boat Safety Check

Before embarking on a cruise, take your time to carefully check your boat. Ensure that you have a full tank of fuel, a fully-charged battery, and appropriate fluid levels. Confirm whether all electronic components are in good working condition.

Once you’ve refueled your boat, open the hatches and run the blower to smell for fumes. In case you detect any gas fumes, don’t start the engine.

Check whether you have enough life jackets for everyone who’s going to board the vessel. Confirm that you have the appropriate safety equipment too.

6. Check the Weather First

The summer brings plenty of sunny days that are perfect for boating, but you can never know for sure whether a storm will roll in. Pay attention to the local weather forecast. If you notice varying gusts of wind, dark skies, choppy water, or lightning, it’s a sign of an approaching storm.

Even if the water seems perfect when you set sail, pay attention to the radio to know in case things are about to change. Get off the water the moment you learn that the weather is about to change.

7. Observe Boat Propeller Safety

Some of the most severe injuries during boat accidents are inflicted by running propellers. That’s why you should never start your vessel’s engine before making sure that nobody is close to the propellers.

Let everyone know the location and danger of the propellers so they can stay away from them. In case someone accidentally falls overboard, stop the boat at once. If you can, bring the person on board first before starting the engine again.

Observing Boating Safety Rules Can Keep Everyone Safe

Whether you’re a newbie boater or have vast boating experience, you can always benefit from a review of essential boating safety tips and rules before you leave the dock. After all, responsible boating is the surest way to enjoy your time on the water to the maximum.

Are you looking to charter a yacht exceptional boating experience? Contact us today.

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