Boating safety tips
Below is a list of some important boating safety tips
Boating accidents claim the lives of many people every year. Usual causes are heartbreakingly preventable and include: operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding. How can you enjoy this wonderful summer-time pastime and be safe? Follow these boating safety tips, come prepared with necessary boating safety accessories and you will be well on your way to an answer.
Boating safety tips can save lives
1- Take a boating course
Most states and the Coast Guard Auxiliary offer all types of courses for recreational boaters. Take the time to sign up for one and you will learn much about potentially life-saving navigational rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water and weather.
2- Leave alcohol onshore
While this may sound even too obvious to mention, during the 2008 boating season alone, 35% of all boating deaths were alcohol or drug-related and 20% of all accidents reported involved alcohol or drug use.
3- Use and maintain the correct safety equipment
Life jackets not only save lives, most state laws require that each passenger must have a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Statistics indicate that on an average, some 600 people drown every year in boating accidents and that about 88% of those deaths could have been averted had the victim been wearing a life jacket. Everyone should wear his or her life jacket for the entire time spent on the water, and putting one on should be as second nature to a boat passenger as donning a seat belt is when riding in a car.
Make sure enough life jackets are onboard to accommodate your crew, that they are the right size and in good working order. To ensure the best performance, the life- jacket should fit snuggly and buckles, zippers and snaps should be fastened. Any boat that exceeds 16 feet by law must also have a Type IV or throwable Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Other important safety equipment includes: charged and accessible fire extinguishers, boat lights, which should always be tested before departure, and an survival gear and emergency supplies pouch containing maps, flares and a first-aid kit)
4- Be weather wise
Do not depart from shore without knowing what kind of weather you will encounter. Check weather warnings and forecasts and remain vigilant for any signs of change in the weather by listening to weather radio broadcasts on a VHF radio. Dark, fast-moving clouds indicate a sudden storm is imminent and if you are out in open water, knowing exactly what to do when these storms appear can mean the difference between your living or becoming a casualty at sea.
5- Develop a float plan
One of the most practical boating safety tips involves the creation of a sailing itinerary and giving it to a responsible person who knows all the details of your trip and how long you may be gone. This is invaluable in case of delays or emergencies. Make sure they have a complete description of the vessel and any other relevant identification information.
6- Follow boat traffic rules
There are many boating rules to know and to follow but none more important than ascertaining right of way. If a boat is approaching your vessel from your starboard (right) side in a crossing situation, that boat and not yours has the right-of-way. This means you may either have to slow down and/or change course behind that boat to avoid a collision.
Invest in a sturdy cooler chest that will keep your food and drinks cool for hours. Bring along a little extra food and drink because you never know what can happen when you are afloat.Boating safety tips insure that a good time is had by all, Be aware of these and many other boating safety tips before you set sail for a fun adventure into the summer sunset, hopefully to be heard from for a long time to come.