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6 tips for safe boating

14th September 2020 Print

Is there anything more relaxing than a sunny day spent on the water with friends and family? There’s nothing like the warm sun, cool breeze, and crisp spray of water to remind you of what it’s like to feel alive. But if you aren’t careful, a fun day on the lake or ocean can quickly turn sour.

When you’re out on the water, you have to exhibit caution. By preparing ahead of time, you can ensure your relaxing day doesn’t turn into a nightmare situation. And in this article, we’re going to show you precisely how you can be smart and safe - without hurting the “fun factor”.

6 Tips Every Boat Owner Needs to Hear

Whether you’re a brand-new boater, or you’ve owned boats for decades, you’ll find the following tips both practical and helpful:

1. Always Wear a Life Jacket

You might assume that, because you can swim, you don’t need to wear a life jacket. But this is false. A life jacket is an important piece of safety equipment for even the best swimmers.

Consider what would happen if you were in a boating accident and you were knocked unconscious. You could be Michael Phelps himself, but you’d be helpless in a situation like this. A life jacket provides an extra layer of protection in boating accidents and other serious situations.

2. Take a Boating Safety Course

A boating safety course is something you should take every few years. Even if you’re an experienced boater, there’s content in these courses you can use to brush up on safety protocols and rules. (As an added bonus, you might even be able to lower your boater’s insurance premium.)

3. Have the Right Equipment on Board

Your boat must have the proper equipment installed, otherwise you could find yourself in a compromising situation. And while there are dozens of important pieces of equipment, the bilge pump is something that often gets neglected. So let’s spend a moment highlighting this important part.

When it comes to bilge pumps, you have two common options: automatic bilge pumps and manual bilge pumps. Automatics have built-in float switches that turn on when they detect high water levels. (These can be somewhat expensive.) Manual bilge pumps must be turned on by the user. (However, they’re much cheaper.)

“Manual bilge pumps are an affordable option that work for most fishing boats and smaller recreational vessels. They’re easy to install, and typically easy to maintain,” Wholesale Marine mentions. “Cartridge bilge pumps, for example, have a cartridge motor that can easily be removed and replaced. Additionally, you can add a float switch to your manual bilge pump, making it function similarly to an automatic pump.”

While your boat may not be required to have a bilge pump on board, it’s definitely not something you should view as “optional.” It’s an important piece of equipment that could ultimately mean the difference between staying afloat and sinking.

4. Never Drink and Drive

Year after year, alcohol is ranked as the number one leading factor in all fatal boating accidents. It’s especially common on popular boating holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. If you want to stay safe (and keep other boaters safe), make a commitment to never drinking and driving. 

5. Keep a Boat Safety Kit on Hand

You should always have a boat safety kit on hand. You might not need if often, but in the one instance where you do, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Some good items to include in a boat safety kit include: first aid kit, flashlight, duct tape, bucket, ropes, whistle, mirror, fire extinguisher, garbage bags, life jackets, non-perishable food, etc.

6. Use Common Sense

At the end of the day, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble if you’re simply willing to use common sense. This means following speed limits, obeying posted signs, only allowing a certain number of people on board at a time, and never driving while distracted. 

Are You Ready for Open Water?

Want to enjoy more fun, relaxing, and carefree days on the water? Brush up on these safety tips and skills. You’ll be better equipped to handle any situation, good or bad, with relative ease. And, as always, don’t forget to have fun!