We all like to think we know a lot (if not everything) about the hobbies we enjoy on a daily basis. But what about those who are new to the boating game? The newbies may not know all of the tips and tricks to make each experience safe and enjoyable, and even the veterans have few things they could learn while on the water as well. Here are a few (some common sense) boating tips for the boaters of all experience levels!
1. Be Weather-Wise. Always check local weather conditions before departure. (You never know with this Florida weather!)
2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist. Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water.
3. Use Common Sense. One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.
4. Designate an Assistant Skipper. Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety.
5. Develop a Float Plan. Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.
6. Make Proper Use of Lifejackets. Identify those who can’t swim or are weak swimmers, and make sure they are wearing their lifejackets at all times.
7. Avoid Alcohol. This correlates back to tip number 3. Be responsible and save the party for later!
8. Take a Boating Course. Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation.