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Summer Boating Safety Tips from Bill Abbott

The weather is finally starting to get warmer, and soon everyone will be out on the water.  Be it the lake or the ocean, there are things you need to be aware of or do to ensure the safety of yourself and others on your boat.

Here are several things you should do before taking a boat trip.

These Tips Will Keep You Safe

Know the Weather Forecast.

It’s always a good idea to know if conditions are ideal for boating.

Make Proper Use of Life Jackets.

Many drownings occur because people don’t wear their life jackets.

Take Carbon Monoxide Precautions

Carbon monoxide can kill.  Install and maintain CO alarms and avoid exhaust fumes.

Carry Safety Equipment Onboard

Be sure to have a first-aid kit, tool kit, horn or whistle, flares, a fire extinguisher, marine VHF radio, extra dock line and life preservers on board.

Protect Against Propeller Strikes

Make sure you know where all your passengers are before starting the engine and wear your emergency cut off switch at all times.  Consider safety equipment such as guards or sensors.

Do Not Drink

If you are operating the boat, do not partake in alcoholic beverages. Operating a boat while intoxicated is a federal offense.  It is subject to fines of at least $1,000, and you can be sentenced to jail time.

Have a VHF Radio Onboard

Cell phones are less reliable due to lack of signal range. In the event of an emergency, it’s better to have the radio for broadcasting for help.

Create a Float Plan

Let a family member or marina staff member know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.  Be sure your plan contains the following info:

  • Name, address and phone number of trip leader
  • Name and phone number of all passengers
  • Boat type and registration information
  • Trip itinerary
  • Types of communication and signal equipment onboard

If you have any doubts about what you need on your boat, be sure to check out this Boating Departure Checklist and Boating Equipment Checklist from the U.S. Coast Guard.

In the event that you are new to boats, be sure to take a boating safety course.

Don’t Forget the Most Important Thing

When talking about boat safety, we know it’s best to be prepared and know that you have everything you need onboard.  To confirm this is the case, consider getting…

A Free Vessel Safety Check

The US Coast Guard offers free safety checks.  They will make sure that your vessel meets all state and federal regulations.  Best of all, they will come to you!  You can schedule a free check through the Coast Guard website.

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