Boating Safety 101
Are you a safe boater? “A real boater is always ready for the water,” the National Safe Boating Council says.
Let’s find out if you are. Here’s what the NSBC says you should think about to determine if you’re ready to take the boat out:
- Do you always wear a life jacket onboard? It’s a must. “Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket,” the NSBC warns. All life jackets need to be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (check the label) and fit you properly.
- Boating rules and laws may differ from state to state. Study up on your state’s regulations before stepping onto the vessel.
- Prepare your boat. The NSBC recommends you schedule a free vessel safety check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
- What’s your boat’s capacity? This is important information. “If you have too much on your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize.”
- Check the weather and water temperature before heading out. Keep an eye out for changing conditions.
- Always dress for the weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case yours get wet.
- Know the “rules of the road,” such as the driver’s responsibility, how to maintain a safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations.
- Leave the alcohol at home. The NSBC says alcohol is a leading factor in boating-related deaths.
- Make sure your boat has a working carbon monoxide detector. “Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it.” Play it safe.