1) Take a Boating Safety Course
An essential step to operating a boat is learning the ins and outs of the craft. In most states, boat operators must pass a boating education class. These classes are vital in equipping new boaters and refreshing pros with best practices, such as waterway rules and regulations, risk prevention, and safety techniques.
2) Have Proper Safety Equipment
In a boating emergency, maintaining equipment for all guests aboard the boat can reduce serious injury and potential death. Every passenger is legally required to have a well-fitting life jacket and should always be encouraged to wear it. Even the strongest swimmers should heed the warning, as an accident could happen in the blink of an eye. Additional safety equipment should include fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, emergency supplies, and a safety kit.
3) Have a Safety Plan
While a boat operator and passengers can take all precautions to stay safe, being prepared with a safety plan can help rescue crews if an accident ever occurs. A safety plan can be as simple as letting family or friends know the details of the boat in use and the trip, such as who is on board, where the boat is going, and when the boat should be expected to return. Boaters can even let marina staff know the same plan, especially if renting a boat.
4) Follow All Waterway Rules
Just like the road, the waterways have strict rules to follow when operating a vessel. Rules to know include understanding which boat has the right of way, maintaining a safe speed, and ensuring all passengers are safely within the boat. Not following these rules can have severe consequences and may even include fines.
5) Practice Docking and Anchoring
For boat operators of all experience levels, docking and anchoring can be two of the most challenging tasks depending on many factors. Wind and water conditions can drastically change these procedures. Always ensure bumpers are out when docking to prevent damage to both the boat and the dock. When anchoring, pay attention to the direction of the wind, as particularly windy days may cause the boat to drift if anchors are not in a V-formation at the front of the boat. Consider the tide as well, as the depth of the water will dictate how deep the boat needs to anchor.
6) Do Not Operate a Boat Under the Influence
Just as drinking and driving, drinking and boating is illegal and highly dangerous. While a boat operator may feel tempted to join in the fun, being sober allows all passengers on the boat, passengers in other boats, and parties in the water to stay safe. Water should be one of the few beverages consumed, as staying hydrated during a day in the sun is vital.
7) Check the Weather
While spending a day on the water is typically done on a sunny, calm day, always check the weather forecast before and during the trip. While a storm cannot always be predicted, ensuring the forecast does not include strong winds or rain will help keep all involved safe from any sudden change in water conditions.
8) Keep up Regular Maintenance
After spending money on a dream boat, upkeep is vital to keeping it in good running condition. Regular maintenance ensures that potential safety hazards are caught before it is too late and helps the vessel stay running safely and smoothly.
9) Stay Alert
Just like on the road, things can happen and change fast on the water. A boat operator can never assume what another boat will do, so eyes should always keep ahead with a proper lookout. Weather, as mentioned earlier, can also be unpredictable. Any change in wind gusts, choppy water, or a sudden drop in temperature may indicate an approaching storm, and boats should exercise caution and return to shore immediately.
10) Prepare Supplies for the Day Out
Now for fun! Before heading out for a day of relaxation, fishing, or water sports, make a checklist to ensure all necessary supplies are on board. Always pack plenty of food and water, as being in the sun for hours can quickly dehydrate passengers.
With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have the best, safest possible experience on the water. For a fun and relaxing new boating experience check out Sea Dragon Swings, the must-have accessory that provides additional seating space to your watercraft and dock. Call us today at 662-479-4647