Boat Safety Tips

boat-safetyBoat safety is paramount.

Unfortunately if you’re on the water for any significant amount of time, you will see a lot of boaters doing reckless, foolish and sometimes just downright stupid things.

Common sense comes in very handy and here are a couple of articles and videos that cover all of the basic safety rules that all boaters should follow.

This article originally appeared on http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/boat/boatsafetytips.html

Boat safety tips

Keep the fun on the water coming — whether it’s a fishing boat, a canoe, or a personal watercraft that “floats your boat.”

Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness, and speeding are the four leading causes of tragic watercraft crashes and the leading cause of death is drowning.

Crash statistics indicate boaters who wear life jackets and take boater safety courses are most likely to stay safe.

1. Leave alcohol onshore. Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation. Alcohol’s effects are greatly exaggerated by exposure to sun, glare, wind, noise, and vibration.

2. Use and maintain the right safety equipment. Have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person onboard and one approved throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer. The DNR recommends that everyone wear their lifejackets while on the water.

  • Have a fire extinguisher.
  • Have operable boat lights – Always test boat lights before the boat leaves the dock and carry extra batteries.
  • Emergency supplies – Keep on board in a floating pouch: cell phone, maps, flares, and 1st aid kit.

3. Paddle Board Safety Tips. Wear a lifejacket! – More than 90% of boat fatalities related to drowning involve victims not wearing life jackets, you need one for your safety. You also need one because Wisconsin law, as well as U.S. Coast Guard law, treats paddleboards the same as kayaks and canoes. This means there must be a personal flotation device for each person on board. However, the best way to obey this law and to ensure your safety is to just wear the life jacket.

  • Carry a whistle
  • Be a competent swimmer
  • Know how to self-rescue
  • Know how to tow another board
  • Know the local regulations and navigation rules
  • Understand the elements and hazards – winds, tidal ranges, current, terrain
  • Know when to wear a leash
  • Be defensive – don’t go where you aren’t supposed to be and avoid other swimmers, boaters, paddleboards
  • Use proper blade angle to be the most efficient paddle boarder
    And, take a safety course.

And here is even more great info. Some of it is a repeat but a good amount of it is new. This is from an article that appeared on http://www.discoverboating.com/beginner/safety/tips.aspx

Safe Boating Tips

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review boating safety rules before departures. Below you will find 10 basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Be Weather-Wise: Always check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.
  2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist: Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
  3. Use Common Sense: One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.
  4. Designate an Assistant Skipper: Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.
  5. Develop a Float Plan: Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. A float plan can include the following information: name, address, and phone number of trip leader, name and phone number of all passengers, boat type and registration information, trip itinerary and types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
  6. Make Proper Use of Lifejackets: Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure. Wear it!
  7. Avoid Alcohol: Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
  8. Learn to Swim: If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.
  9. Take a Boating Course: Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Regardless of your individual state’s requirements, it’s always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course or online course to help educate yourself.
  10. Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check: Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

Stay safe!