5 Tips for Boating Safely This Summer
Boating. Canoeing. Kayaking. All fun, exciting ways to spend summer days, but all activities that can result in injury or worse if you’re not safe about them. Don’t ruin the rest of your summer by ending up in the hospital for the most beautiful days out of the year—boat safely and smartly or not at all. We’ve gathered five tips to get you started.
- Check the weather forecast.
Being aware of the weather patterns for the day—particularly if a storm is part of the forecast—is necessary and can potentially prevent a life-or-death situation. Generally if you’re swimming, fishing, or boating and there are cloudy dark skies or traces of thunder and lightning in the distance, you should immediately return to land and find shelter. If you’re in a boat and can’t get to shore in time before the storm hits, it’s recommended to crouch down in the middle of the boat or go into a below-deck cabin if you have one.
- Check over your boat and the equipment in it prior to departure.
Know your boat inside and out and check it each time prior to departure to make sure it’s in a safe condition for being out on the water. Any required or recommended safety equipment should be secure and accessible on board at all times while the vessel is in the water—simultaneously, do not overload your boat. Know the boat’s maximum capacity in terms of combined people and cargo weight and don’t exceed that. If you’re operating a motorboat, ensure that you have enough fuel to make the trip and that everything is working properly as well.
- Ensure you (and all other passengers) wear a fitted life jacket.
If you’re a strong swimmer, you don’t need a life jacket, right? Wrong. Most adults who are also strong swimmers think having a life jacket handy is enough in place of having it on the whole time you’re on the water. No matter how strong your swimming skills are, a number of factors can affect your performance when it counts the most—water temperature, distance from shore, roughness of the current, and more can make swimming more difficult in the event of an accident or a malfunction with the vessel. And if you’ve been injured in said accident, your chances of coming out of that accident okay by swimming without a life jacket get even slimmer. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80 percent of boating fatality victims to date.
- Do not drink while on a boat—especially if you’re operating it.
This one just comes down to common sense. Alcohol impairs your ability to think, your judgment, and your capacity to complete quick, effective actions. Remaining physically able and mentally clear is important when you’re anywhere that’s out of your element, but especially while operating or spending time on a boat or near a large body of water. Keeping to this rule of thumb keeps you safe as well as anyone on board with you, other boaters in different vessels, swimmers, and so on.
- Just be careful.
Messing around on a boat could be a quick way to hurt yourself or someone else. Standing up, wrestling, wielding paddles at each other, jumping around, and other unadvisable activities could very easily cause an accident or injury. It’s also wise to be mindful of anyone in the water you’re boating in—where there is water, there are almost always swimmers, so keep an eye out for them and keep a safe distance away.
Staying safe should always be priority while out on the water, but especially while on a boat or near boats as an accident can happen in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, however, staying safe isn’t quite enough—particularly if someone else isn’t being mindful of their safety and others’. If you’ve sustained an injury or property damage due to a boating accident, contact Boughter Sinak, LLC, today for a free evaluation.
Source: Boating Safety Tips That Will Save Your Life