5 Boating Safety Tips You Need to Know

Summer is fast approaching, and you probably can’t wait to gather your buddies and get your boat out on the water. 

But before you do, did you know that around 80% of people that drown while participating in boating were not wearing a lifejacket? 

That seems like a bit of a downer to your summer plans, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a reminder to include some important boating safety tips into your epic summer plans. 

Keep reading for five tips on how to stay safe on your boat and enjoy it to the fullest!

What is one of the hottest boating safety tips in 2021? Never drink and boat!

Yes, booze cruises are a great way to spend a day, and nothing seems more appropriate than cracking open a cold beer in the sunshine on the water. But when you drink and drive your boat, you’re putting yourself, your passengers, and other people on the water in danger. 

You wouldn’t drink a beer while driving a car, so why would you even consider it while operating a boat? Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is illegal in all states. 

If you’re even just a little bit tipsy, your judgment and cognitive abilities go downhill, along with your balance, coordination, vision, and reaction time. 

Be a good buddy and designated driver while your friends enjoy their beer, knowing they’re in good hands. 

2. Always Wear a Life Jacket and Have a Safety Kit

Lifejackets are the seatbelts of the water, and you don’t need to hear the grisly statistics again to know that they’re essential. It’s one of the most obvious safe boating tips and one of the easiest to follow.

All passengers should wear a lifejacket at all times, regardless of the type of activity. Or, at the very least, there should be enough lifejackets on board for the number of passengers. Remember, by law; children must wear life jackets all the time. 

There are different lifejackets for different watersports and activities, and you should take this into account. For example, if you’re a watersport enthusiast, you should have lifejackets on your boat appropriate for skiing, tubing, and boarding. 

Always ensure that your lifejackets are in good condition with working zips, straps, etc. 

3. Practice Boat Propeller Safety

One of the most dangerous and high-risk parts of your boat is the propeller. It keeps you cruising but can also leave you with bruising. It’s a bad rhyme, but hopefully bad enough that you’ll remember the importance of practicing boat propeller safety when you’re on the water.

Propellers can seriously hurt someone, and as the captain of your boat, it’s your duty to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

Firstly, always ensure that everyone is in the boat before you start the engine. Don’t depend on asking ‘everyone in?’ and getting back a chorus of ‘yes.’ Actually walk around the boat checking the water to make sure no one is near the boat. 

It goes without saying that people should never board or exit their boat from the water while the engines are still running – even though the boarding location may be far from the propellers. 

When you’re driving up to someone in the water, perhaps the friend who has fallen off the skis for the hundredth time, always turn off your engines when you get close. 

Lastly, use a propeller guard if you can, and don’t let children sit near the propeller. 

4. Know the Man-Overboard Practices

Do you know what to do if you or someone falls overboard? Having this knowledge is a fundamental part of knowing how to stay safe on a boat. Being prepared for man-overboard situations or instances of boat capsizing is very important for any skipper — professional or newbie. 

If someone falls into the water, you need to turn off the motor and propellers immediately. If everyone is in the water and no one is on board to turn off the engines, you need to make sure that you and everyone else moves away from the boat as quickly as possible. 

Secondly, remain calm. If you are in the water, then the last thing you want to do is expend too much energy. If you’re wearing a lifejacket (which you should be), then float. If you aren’t wearing a lifejacket, then try to locate one or another floating device. 

If you’re on the boat, throw a lifejacket or floating device to the person in the water before attempting to drive over to them. This is especially important in the sea as you can quickly lose sight of the person among the waves. 

5. Know and Follow the Local Boating Laws

Boating rules and laws differ from state to state. One of the most important boat safety tips for beginners is to know the boating rules and laws in your region. 

These laws are in place for good reason — to keep you and other people safe on the water. Violating the laws not only puts you at risk, but your fun day out on the boat might end with hefty fines or tickets and even jail time. 

The basic laws that you should be aware of include minimum operator age, towing restrictions, and boating licenses. 

You also need to respect and abide by the nautical rules of the road. For instance, look out for buoys and navigational aids and work around them.

The Best Boating Safety Tips for You

Remember, if you’re armed with the best boating safety tips you’re bound to make the most of your time on the water while staying safe. It’s vital that you never boat under the influence of alcohol and that you know all the rules and regulations of boating in your state. The best captain always ensures his passengers are safe with lifejackets and expert safety knowledge!

If you’ve just bought your boat, our site is full of beginner guides to ease you into being the best captain you can be. If you’re an experienced boater, then check out our buyer’s guides or product comparisons. For all things boating, keep exploring our site!

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