Tips for Safe Boating
Spring is here, summer is just around the corner. Safe boating calls as many of us are getting our boats out of boat storage and into the water.
Here’s a simple list of things to keep in mind as you, or your skipper go out on the water. Even if you’re not the captain of the boat, don’t be shy to implement these safe boating precautions.
Most drownings are due to people not wearing their lifejackets. Using a lifejacket is your best protection in the water, whether you’re on a speedboat, a kayak, a jetski, or any other watercraft. Choose a lifejacket that fits. Kids should especially use lifejackets that are not too large and will not slip off should they fall into the water. Although many people opt out of lifejackets, it truly is your best life saver should something unexpected happen.
Check the weather
Checking the weather is easy these days with apps designed to go anywhere. Knowing what the weather is doing all day long, is another great way to ensure safe boating. If it’s going to be windy in the afternoon, you’ll know to be on shore before then. If there’s a thunderstorm coming, being out on the water is the last place you want to be. It’s simple to check the weather.
Designate a captain and second skipper
Just as we do for driving a car, designating a sober captain is essential for safe boating. Being sober on a body of water is always recommended for anyone on a vessel, but it’s extra important for the captain of the boat to have a clear mind. Designating a second skipper is a good idea too. Having a second person who knows how to handle a boat helps if something happens to the captain.
Safe boating includes taking care of your body. Drink water, lots of it. The sun and wind will sap moisture quickly. Our judgements, balance, minds, energy systems all work better when we’re hydrated. Take lots of water with you (preferably not in single-use plastic water but in stainless steel bottles) and drink all day long.
Take extra gas and first aid kit
Running out of gas far off shore can be a real drag. And it happens more often than you’d think. Always take an extra can of gas if you’re on a power boat. And always take a first aid kit including a locator beacon! Being a responsible and self-sufficient captain is always a safe boating practice, not only for your own vessel and passengers, but for those who may have to go out of their way to help you.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Other than staying sober, it’s your number one protection against a really uncomfortable day.
Use common sense
Safe boating really does imply using common sense. Stay sober, avoid large vessels, watch out for swimmers and smaller boats, know your body of water and watch for rocks or shallows, keep a constant eye on all passengers, including pets, that may fall overboard, use safe speeds.