Out on the Water: 5 Essential Boating Safety Tips to Know

Did you know that collisions with recreational boating vessels are the leading causes of accidents when boating? According to the most recent figures posted by the U.S. Coast Guard, about 1,145 collisions happened in 2017. Out of these, they recorded 49 fatalities and 721 injuries.

If you’re planning to buy a boat, you need to learn some boating safety tips to avoid such accidents. This ensures that you have the means of avoiding accidents and other dangerous situations that may arise. In this post, you’ll learn some important safety tips that won’t impede your boating experience.

Are you ready to learn how to stay safe? Read on and find out more today.

Important Boating Safety Tips

Recreational boating can give you a new perspective on life. It’s especially the case if you’re more used to urban living in landlocked cities. Experiencing the ocean or even a lake can broaden how you see life.

But with this transformative experience, you need to put your safety first. Below are some boating safety tips that will guarantee a smooth boating experience. You can also read this post on boat storage if you want to keep your boat preserved for longer periods.

1. Always Wear a Life Jacket and Let Everyone Do the Same

The statistics don’t lie—about 77% of all the fatalities involving boating accidents involve drowning. The sad fact is that almost 84% of all these people aren’t wearing any life jackets. Also, 80% of drowned boaters rode vessels with less than 21 feet in length.

That’s why you need to ensure that you have an adequate supply of life jackets in your boat. Children should always have the right life support jacket size. If they’re wearing a jacket that’s too loose, they’ll end up drowning since it’s possible for their small figure to slip past the jacket’s protection.

If you’re boating in colder areas, life support jackets are more important due to hypothermia. If you stay in cold water for too long, you accelerate the onset of this condition.  It’s believed that you lose your body heat 25 times faster if you’re in cold water.

But that doesn’t mean warm water will save you from hypothermia. You’re only expected to survive within two hours in waters as warm as 60F. With a life jacket, you can keep out of the water and maintain your body temperature.

2. Don’t Drink Alcohol While Boating

Another leading cause of fatal boating accidents, alcohol contributed to about 16% of all fatalities related these tragedies. That’s why it’s important to keep your wits about you while on the water. Leave the alcohol on dry land, even when you aren’t the one operating the ship.

If you’re imbibed when accidents happen, you won’t have the means of reacting to it. In most cases, intoxicated people end up drowning or getting stuck to a sinking boat. Don’t decrease your chances—enjoy the boating experience while you’re sober.

3. Take Boating Safety Courses and Understand Navigational Rules

If you take on these safety courses, you’ll know what to do to prevent yourself and your crew from getting into dangerous situations. Take note, only 13% of fatalities from boat accidents come from boats operated by a fully-trained crew. These people received training from institutions that offer courses meeting the national standards set by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Another benefit of completing a safety course is the reduced rate of insurance. If you’re interested, you can always try contacting your local Coast Guard Auxiliary. They can give you information about the available courses within your locality.

It’s important to remember the boating safety rules to avoid getting into accidents. Violations of navigation rules were one of the major factors that contributed to boating accidents. This factor alone contributed to about 200 accidents every year.

Before you even take to the water, you need to know and understand the safety procedures for boating. Once you’re in the water, practice these without fail. That way, you won’t pose a danger to both yourself and other people.

4. Take Charge of Your Safety and Your Passengers’

People between the ages of 36 and 55 have the highest rate of boating injuries and fatalities than any other age group. The main cause of these incidents is negligence and the lack of accountability of one or more parties involved. With this, you need to ensure that your vessel is under your control, as well as all the other passengers within.

Never forget that safety will begin within you. If you don’t stay vigilant while on the water, you might end up getting blindsided by catastrophe. You don’t want to become part of the 5,500 vessels involved in accidents each year, so take charge.

5.  Check the Weather Beforehand

It’s always ideal to start boating when the weather is warm and sunny. But it isn’t possible for you to predict when storms start appearing. That’s why you need to check whether there are gusts of wind and choppy waters since it signals an encroaching storm.

Always take note that the water can still reflect winter temperatures even when it’s a warm spring day. That’s why it’s always important to take note of the weather forecasts and plan your boating trip accordingly. It’s better to feel bummed out for canceling it than suffering from a capsized boat due to the harsh weather.

Also, if you’re caught out in a storm and your boat capsizes, you need to stay focused. Have a plan ready, especially when you and your passengers get wet. That ensures you’ll have the means of getting dry and seeking help.

Practice Boat Safety Today!

These boating safety tips are great if you’re new to recreational boating. Don’t neglect these when you go out on the water since it can save your life and everyone in your vessel. Remember, your negligence can cost you your life.

Did you find this guide interesting and educational? If so, read more of our posts and learn more today!

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