Boating is a great summer pastime or life-long hobby. Whether you’re a skilled sailor or it’s your first time manning your own vessel, it’s easy to get caught up in the activity and forget how important it is to always be alert and cautious. Make sure you always take a few minutes to brush up on some safety tips before you hit the open water.
Don’t Forget the Smaller Details
Always be aware of what is happening on and around your boat. Make sure you are operating your vessel at safe speeds at all times and are extremely aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Take note of buoys that are placed in the water, as they are there to alert boaters of potential dangers.
Always check the weather before you move into open water. However, if you forget to check the forecast or there is a sudden change in the weather, take action and stay alert. If the wind picks up considerably, the sky begins to darken or there is a drastic drop in temperature, return to land as quickly as possible.
Before you cast off, always let someone know where you are going. Whether it is a family member or a staff member at the marina, make sure someone knows where you are planning to travel and approximately how long you anticipate being out on the water.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Make sure you are prepared when you leave for the day. Before you depart, create a list of all the things you could possibly need out on the water. Be sure to go over safety precautious with passengers and let them know what they should do in the event of an emergency. Also check to make sure that you have enough fuel to power your boat throughout the day.
Always have lifejackets on board. Most drowning fatalities associated with boating occur because there are not an adequate number of lifejackets on board. Make sure you have at least one for every person onboard. Even the most experienced swimmers could find themselves in a situation where they need a lifejacket.
Brush up on Your Skills Regularly
If you are going to spend time on a boat or around water, you should learn how to swim. Even if you know how to swim, consider taking a class at a local swim club to work on technique and build endurance to become a stronger swimmer.
Take a boating course regularly to make sure you always remember the boating safety rules during operation. Also consider taking your boat to a free Vessel Safety Check. The US Coast Guard offers free examinations to ensure your vessel meets standard safety regulations.
For more information on safe boating, please be sure to visit the original article here: http://www.discoverboating.com/beginner/safety/tips.aspx