Best Safety Tips to Follow when Boating with Your Buds
Summer is here, and that means time spent out on the water with your buddies on your own boat or if you’ve rented a boat from a boat rental place. In fact, if you own a boat, summer is probably your favorite time of the year because of all of the recreational opportunities it provides. Before you head out, make sure you avoid catastrophe by keeping some simple, but important, safety tips in mind.
Be Smart with Alcohol
It may seem like part of the package to drink while you’re out on the boat with your buddies, but if you’re the operator, don’t do it. It’s illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol just like it’s illegal to drive under the influence. Not only does failure to follow this regulation put your safety at risk, but if you’re caught you face hefty fines and potential jail time. You may also face a felony conviction. The impact of alcohol on the water is even greater because the rocking of the boat is a bad combination with impairment from alcohol. If you choose to drink, be sure to keep open containers in a cup holder or safe place to avoid spills.
Wear Your Life Jacket
It doesn’t matter how strong of a swimmer you are, you can die if you end up falling overboard. The Coast Guard estimates that wearing a life jacket could have saved the life of about 80 percent of those killed in boating accidents. You never know when an accident will occur that will leave you stranded in the water, and everyone, no matter how athletic, will eventually tire. Use a US. Coast Guard proved life jacket and insist that everyone wears one while on board your boat.
Leave Your Float Plan Behind
Leave a plan with someone on shore that describes your boat, equipment, passengers and itinerary. Should you fail to return on time, the float plan will guide the rescue team to the best place to start looking for you.
Be Cautious About the Propeller
Your boat’s propeller is one of the biggest risks when you’re out boating. It can injure anyone who is in the water. To make sure you and your passengers are safe, make sure everyone is on board and accounted for before starting the engine. Shut off your engine before approaching anyone in the water. Make sure everyone on board knows where the propeller is and how dangerous it is, and never allow someone to sit on the plastic swim platform or any other location near the propeller while the boat is in motion. If someone does fall in, stop the boat immediately before getting them back on board. Finally, sue a propeller guard if it works for your type of boat.
Boating is one of the best parts of summer, but it can also create senseless tragedy if you aren’t careful. Practice boating safety when you head out with your friends this summer, and you can enjoy boating to the fullest without a catastrophe.