It’s boating season, and you know what that means! Fun in the sun, but also finding some helpful tips on boat safety! We need to make sure that that fun doesn’t end in a disaster. Here are twelve tips for boat safety that really aren’t optional.
1. Don’t Let Young Children Drive the Boat
This is one of the top most important tips on boat safety. I know it might seem like it’s no big deal when there are few boats out on the lake, but a jet ski can come out of nowhere. Older children can drive a boat so long as they have a boating license. Boats may be toys to adults, but they should not be toys to children.
2. Buy a Depth Reader
A depth reader is worth every penny. It records how far below is the sea floor or lake bottom. This is fantastic for when you are boating in a river or lake as it will indicate if you are in a shallow region and need to reduce your speed.
3. Do Not Drink Alcohol
A boat is a high-powered machine that can cause damage. Drinking and boating simply do not mix.
4. Get a Free Inspection before You Launch Your Boat at the Beginning of the Season
The United States Coast Guard will give your vessel a free inspection. Just call them. Their number depends on where you live.
5. Check the Weather
While weather can be very unpredictable, or rainstorms never occur when the weatherman says they will, it’s still a wise idea to check the weather before heading out. Also, be sure to always wear sunscreen and a hat even on a cloudy day.
6. Always Have Lifejackets and Follow Lifejacket Protocol
It’s mandatory by law that there is one lifejacket for every passenger that properly fits and has fasteners. Children are mandated by law to wear a lifejacket until they’re thirteen years old.
7. Everyone on the Boat Must Know How to Swim
While you may follow all boat safety tips, that doesn’t mean everyone else around you will. Make it a rule that nobody is allowed on your boat unless they know how to swim, not just doggy paddle, but has the capability of swimming freestyle for up to a mile. Children under 13 are excluded from this, but it is still is extremely beneficial for children to take swimming lessons before boarding a boat.
8. Leave Plans with Someone
You never think something is going to happen, but it can and it does. Text a friend or family member and let them know where you’re going boating, example Lake Okeechobee, what time you’ll be back on shore say 7pm, the route you’ll be taking, who will be on the boat and their phone numbers, and the boat type and registration.
9. Check Your Boat before Taking It out
Double check and make sure everything your boat needs is in there, and take a look at the physical condition of your boat. Also, be sure to check the gas level.
10. Tell People to Have a Seat
Boats are scales so be sure to evenly weigh out your boat. You can’t have everyone sitting in the back of the boat if you have a large gathering. Tell people to have a seat and please not walk around the boat unless necessary unless it is a large boat that can handle frequent movement.
11. Check Outlets
Exhaust gas trapped in enclosed places and blocked exhaust outlets can kill you with ease. Please, please check these before and after every boating excursion.
12. Mandate at Least One Other Adult is Certified in CPR and First Aid
At least one other adult on the boat, or a high school aged student, should be mandated to be certified in First Aid and CPR. It is these precious few minutes that mean so much before the Coast Guard can get there.