While boating is often all about fun in the sun, it's crucial to remember to stay safe and exercise caution while out on the water. We collaborated with Kalkomey to put together a top list of tips for safe boating.
Before you even head out on the water, make sure you check the weather. While storms can build unexpectedly, if you check the forecast before heading out, you can prepare for anything that might come your way.
Always Wear a Life Jacket
Life jackets and personal flotation devices are the best methods of preventing tragedy onboard. 76% of fatal boating accident victims die by drowning and 84.5% of victims were not wearing a life jacket. Simply stowing life jackets on board your vessel is not an appropriate solution. Accidents happen quickly and leave no time for finding and putting life jackets that are stored away. Always wear your life jacket on board for a safe boating day, and invest in other forms of floatation devices to keep on board.
Leave the Beer at the Pier
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Don’t be another statistic – save the alcoholic beverages for later. If you're a renter and want to enjoy drinks with your company onboard - book a captained charter so you don't have to worry about driving the boat.
The majority of accidents on the water involve collisions with recreational vehicles (and fixed objects), and excessive speed was a top contributing factor in these accidents. Be sure to obey the rules of the waterways, keep your head on a swivel, and watch your speed. Always be on the lookout, paying attention as you navigate and when in doubt, slow down and keep your distance.
Don’t Slack on Your Boat’s Maintenance
Out of all of the boating accidents that occurred in 2017, machinery failure was the fourth-largest contributing factor. Check your boat’s oil level and coolant level before every trip to avoid common problems out on the water. Checking maintenance regularly will also save you money in the long run - it's better to catch a small problem early and fix it before it becomes a much bigger, more expensive problem.
Take a Boater Safety Course
In 2017, 81% of fatal boating accidents occurred on boats where the operator did not have sufficient boating safety instruction. If you haven’t taken a boater safety course in a while, now is a great time to refresh your memory. Interactive boat safety courses are brand new to the market and play like a video game. If you're a beginner boater looking to build on your skills and learn new ones, consider signing up for boating lessons in addition to safety courses.
Have any safety tips that have helped out on your boat? We'd love to hear about them. Please email email@example.com.
Statistics courtesy of uscgboating.org