Let’s Talk Boat Safety
It may be August already, but boating season is still in full swing. And with more people on the water than ever, being safe while out having fun is the key to a successful day. Here are some of the top tips for boating safety.
- Life Jackets-83% of people who drowned in fatal boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. SC law requires anyone under the age of 12 to be wearing a life jacket at all times on a boat 16’ and under. And although not everyone on board has to be wearing their life jacket while underway because of age, you should always ensure there is a life jacket for everyone you have on your boat.
- No Drinking And Boating-Alcohol use is a leading contributor to fatal boating accidents, causing approximately 15% of deaths each year. You don’t drink and drive-you shouldn’t drink and boat!
- Take A Boating Safety Course-Safety courses cover a wide variety of topics from what to do in emergency situations, educating people on boating etiquette, reading the weather and navigation skills. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate for completing the safety course.
- No Speeding/Stay Focused-Excessive speed and not paying attention are the top two contributing factors to all boating accidents. Before you hit the water, especially in unfamiliar waters, be sure to know the local rules and laws of the waterway. Staying alert and focused will help you avoid hazards such as shoals, rocks or objects floating in the water.
- Check The Weather-We all know that especially in the summer, a calm sunny day can turn into a storm quickly. Be sure to always keep an eye out for changes in weather and always pay attention to the forecast.
- Float Plan-The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member your boating plans. This way, if something does happen and you need help, officials can be notified if you don’t come back and your approximate location based on your plans.
- Safety Kit-Being prepared no matter what the situation is always important. Having a safety kit onboard your vessel is no exception. Your kit should include:
- Flashlight-helps you see around your boat in the dark and allows you to be seen if your craft stalls
- Bucket-even if you haven’t sprung a leak, water can still enter the vessel. This can help you bail it out.
- First aid kit-vital in case of an emergency or injury.
- Whistle-the sound of a whistle is a recognized signal for calling out for help on the water.
- Ropes-these can be used for pulling someone who has fallen overboard, securing the vessel or tying down loose items.
- Fire extinguisher-another vital item on a boat
- Life preserver ring – Important item to keep on board for safety precautions
- Carbon Monoxide Monitor-CO2 can accumulate and knock you or your guest’s unconscious. There is no smell with CO2 so it’s extremely dangerous. A monitor can alert you to any issues there might be.
- Get Your Vessel Checked-The U.S. Coast Guard and United States Power Squadrons offer free Vessel Safety Checks
- Use Common Sense-always be alert of your surroundings, other boaters and the water. Have fun on the water, but be smart!
- We hope these boat safety tips assist you! To get your boat in top condition for the season, be sure to browse all of the fantastic products here at BoatLIFE.