As the weather heats up, many people are getting excited to head to the lake, river, or ocean to go boating! While there is nothing more enjoyable than a day on the boat, a good time can quickly go bad if safety is not a priority!
The National Safety Council in America recommends having a yearly safety check. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary, the United States Power Squadrons, and the Division of Parks and Watercrafts are a few of the organizations that offer free vessel safety checks.
Prepare your boat for the safety check! Be sure to:
- properly register your boat and have the state registration properly displayed.
- have a fire extinguisher onboard.
- have functioning navigation lights.
- have the proper number of life jackets.
Speaking of life jackets, they should properly fit the individual wearing them and should be always be worn while participating in water sports like skiing, tubing, and kneeboarding. Life jacket requirements vary from state to state. Find the life jacket state requirements here.
Also, prepare your boat with a safety kit! Be sure to include (but not limited to):
- a flashlight
- water bottles
- a whistle
- garbage bags
- floatation device
As captain of the boat, always practice good judgment. Stay alert of your passengers, other boats, people participating in water sports, and swimmers. Additionally, it is important to always follow the boat’s weight capacity restrictions, as traveling overweight can cause a boat to tip or fill up with water. Continuously check for harmful fumes that could be caused by carbon monoxide accumulating in and around the boat. Finally, the boat driver should never operate the boat while consuming alcohol.
Don’t forget about insurance! Do your annual review with your independent insurance agent to be sure you are covered in a time of need!
Summer weather has arrived. Follow these safety guidelines and tips, put on that sunscreen, and have a safe and enjoyable day on the water!
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