When it comes to being on your boat, you know that the freedom and exhilaration just don’t get any better. You, your vessel and your passengers are the whole world when you’re on the water. Despite any desire you may have to throw caution to the wind, always be mindful of safety issues when boating. In 2017, there were 4,291 boating accidents, many involving injuries or fatalities. Below are some best practices to keep you and your companions safe on your boat.
Keep Your Boat in Good Shape
There are practical steps you can take to keep your boat in shape. For example, perform regular maintenance on it, including cleaning, checking the engine fluid levels and servicing the engine. Also do periodic checks for safety issues, such as inspecting life jackets and fire extinguishers. Ideally, get a professional examiner to perform a safety check on your entire boat. Replace any worn or broken parts with new boat parts immediately.
Keep Yourself in Good Shape
Keeping your boat in shape will get you halfway to a safe voyage. The other half depends on keeping yourself in shape, both physically and mentally.
- If you don’t know how to swim, learn. If you do, learn how to swim better.
- Never mix alcohol and boating. You’re inviting trouble if you do.
- Always wear a life jacket. The same goes for passengers.
- Learn first aid. You never know when you’ll need it.
- Know the weather forecast and your route. Always be prepared.
- Take a boating safety course. You can find some great options online.
Maintaining a safe boating experience will take some effort on your part, but this is your responsibility as captain. Don’ t be surprised to discover that safe boating practices make the boating experience even better. The freedom and exhilaration of being out on the open waters are at their best when you’ve taken preliminary steps to ensure a safe voyage.