Boating has become extremely popular in recent years and with the increase in popularity also comes the increase in boating accidents. Accidents that could have been avoided if people would take the time and prepare themselves with some safety tips.
Learn how to swim. What in the world are you doing on the water without the ability to swim. If you can’t swim and an accident should occur you won’t last more than 5 minutes, 10 minutes tops.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
In the waterways of NJ if you are caught driving a boat under the influence of alcohol you are looking at jail time. In many other parts of the country that is not the case. Regardless of the law you should never drink and drive. It impairs your reaction time, coordination and ability to operate a boat.
Even though you can swim (see the first part), you should still wear a life jacket. If something should happen you will at least have the added extra protection of being able to float on top of the water so other passing boats can see you.
File a Float Plan
A float plan is a piece of paper that says where you are going, what boat you are in, the time you left, the time you expect to get back and so on. You can make up your own or download an example from the Coast Guard website. Either way, you should leave this float plan with a family member so they have your information.
Why are you going out on your boat in bad weather? Your boat is for fun not to replicate the “Deadliest Catch”. Make sure the weather conditions are favorable for your outing.
Make sure you have a working radio on the boat. Sure Columbus didn’t have a radio when he discovered America, but that does not mean you need to sail in a rickety wooden boat either. Make sure you have a working radio on board and do a radio check before you leave the dock.
Know the channel on your radio for your local Coast Guard. Also know where they are located, their phone numbers and so on and put that on your float plan.
These are just a few of the many boating safety tips you can follow to make you next boating trip a fun, relaxing and enjoyable one.