When owning a boat it is extremely important to know and follow the basic boating safety guidelines. Being aware and familiar with these safety procedures will allow for a much safer, organized day on the water.
Before attempting any boating expedition it is important that you are weather wise and conscious. Weather can change quickly and with not much warning. It is best to watch the weather stations and listen to local weather updates before taking your boat out. Once on the water it is necessary to watch the weather conditions and should you see darkening clouds or changes in wind it is best to go in.
Before leaving the harbor or boarding any passengers on your boat it is important to have a pre established Pre-departure checklist. Once you have followed through with the checklist it is safe to go out. This checklist will help to pinpoint any damages, concerns or safety risks before setting out onto the water.
Once you are out cruising about make sure to always be aware of your surroundings. Watch for people swimming, large vessels, buoy’s etc. Avoid any consumption of alcoholic beverages while you are navigating your boat or in control of driving it.
Life jackets are meant for reason, they will help to save your life should your boat ever capsize etc. Make sure each passenger is wearing one, especially children and that they are being worn properly.
Have a designated Skipper. This person should be someone that knows how to handle and operate your boat just as you do. In case there is an accident or something should happen to the captain, the skipper can take control and get everyone back to shore safely.
Last but not least devise a float plan and give it to a family member, friend or staff at the marina where you take off from. A good float plan should consist of
- Name, Address, and Phone number of the trip leader
- Name & Phone numbers of all passengers
- Boat type and copy of registration
- Trip Itinerary
- List of types of communication & signal equipment on board
Although these safety precautions may seem a bt extensive, the water can be a dangerous place and so can operating a boat. Having simple safety measures and precautions put in place an implemented can save lives in the time of distress or an accident.