Many people are ready to get out on the water with boat season quickly approaching. Learn about these 7 essential boat safety tips before casting off.
Did you know that the number of boat-related deaths, injuries, and accidents has dropped significantly since 2000?
This is great news for boat safety. However, just because statistics show a decrease in boating accidents, doesn't mean you don't need to be careful out there on the water.
During boat season, it can be easy to get caught up in the fun and throw caution to the wind. Unfortunately, however, a lot can go wrong out on the water. Therefore, it's always wise to keep boat safety in mind, whether you are on your own, with friends, or taking your family out for a good time.
If you're getting geared up to enjoy this boating season to the fullest, keep reading for our top boat safety tips in this guide.
1. Stay Connected
One of the first boat safety tips to implement when heading out onto the water this boating season is to stay connected. Keep your cellphone on you as well as a VHF radio. Make sure you are competent in VHF radio operation and that your radio is in working order.
If your VHF radio is battery operated, ensure that you always have spare batteries on hand.
The same goes for your cellphone. If you can, make sure you have a backup charging source onboard for your cellphone, such as a power bank.
If something goes wrong out on the water, you want to be able to call for help. If you find yourself stuck with no way to send out a "mayday" you might want to sell your boat and never look back once you get onto dry land. So, instead, fastidiously check your communication devices and backup power supplies before each trip.
2. Stay Sober
Another of the top boat safety tips you should stick by is staying sober. When you're out on the water, it can be easy to fall into the spirit of fun and knock back a couple of drinks.
But having too much to drink could land you in the drink. Just because you're driving on the water and not on a highway doesn't mean that the same safety rules don't apply.
According to reports, alcohol is the main contributing factor to fatal boating accidents in the US, accounting for roughly 19% of fatalities.
When you take to the water, you are responsible for your own life, your passengers' safety, and the boat you're operating. Becoming inebriated is the fastest way to compromise all of this, which is why staying sober is one of the most important tips in this boat safety guide.
3. Make Sure All Life Jackets Are Properly Fitted
One of the most vital things to check when it comes to boat safety is that all of your passengers' life jackets fit properly.
Most of us know that life jackets are an essential part of boat safety. However, not everyone is aware of how crucial it is to have a properly fitted life jacket.
This is especially overlooked when it comes to kids. Kids grow out of life jackets fast. A life jacket that's too small holds less chance of being able to carry the wearer's weight in the water.
Therefore, make it a habit to check that everyone's life jacket is up to spec for their age/weight.
4. Keep a Spare Anchor
If you want to be savvily prepared for the boating season ahead, stock up on an extra anchor.
If you only have one anchor, and it goes for a dive, or your chain and tackle breaks—then you'll be left with no way to moor down.
In most situations, this will be merely inconvenient. However, if you have motor failure, and want to anchor your boat until help arrives, losing your only anchor could make a bad situation even worse.
Besides keeping an extra anchor, in the name of boat safety and preparedness, you should also load up on extra lines and fenders. These are essential boating items. Whether you are pulling up to a floating restaurant, or dragging down on another vessel in unexpected bad weather, having adequate lines and fenders on hand is a must.
5. Buckle Up
Buckling up on a boat looks a little different from in a car, but it's still one of the essential boat safety tips to know about.
If you're experiencing rough weather, or are far out at sea, you and all your crew should don your harnesses and attach your tethers to the jack lines on your boat.
Keep in mind that not all boats are fitted with jack lines. Most powerboats come without. However, if you are going to be encountering rough water or going offshore, you can get these installed through a custom upgrade.
6. Keep a Tidy Ship
When it comes to boat safety, tidiness isn't the first thing that might spring to mind.
However, a tidy ship is a safer ship. The tidier your boat is, the less chance of passengers tripping, injuring themselves, or even falling overboard.
Piles of tangled lines, open hatches, messy fishing equipment, and personal belongings strewn deck-wide all are recipes for accidents out on the water.
7. All Eye's on Deck
Although getting out on the water is inherently fun, if you're the skipper of your vessel, you need to be the one keeping a sharp eye on your passengers.
Being vigilant can go a long way to preventing accidents before they happen. Watch out for reckless behavior on behalf of your guests, anticipate dangerous situations, and step in to halt them before a mishap occurs.
Implement These Boat Safety Tips for a Carefree Boating Season
Now that you have the 7 steps to boat safety tips under your belt, it's time to hit the water and enjoy this year's boating season to the fullest.
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