Boating Safety Tips
Boating Safety tips : Sailing your boat should be fun, however safe boating is of course fundamentally important, so here are some great safety tips to ensure your boating is trouble free:
Wearing a life jacket (passengers and operator)
Never boating under the influence
Taking a boating safety course
Get a vessel safety check annually
Know the weather forecast
Construct a float plan
Boat Insurance or yacht insurance
BOATING SAFETY TIPS
The operator of the boat is responsible for knowing these elements:
The boat should be in top operating condition and free of fire hazards. The bilges must be clean. Know your boats operating and handling characteristics. Know your location and know where you’re going. Maintain a safe speed at all times. Scan the water back and forth try to avoid “tunnel” vision. Know the forecast and keep an eye out for shifting weather conditions. File a float plan with a relative or friend. (see Float Plan below) By law, required safety equipment on board. Know how to properly use them and keep them in good functioning order. Know and practice the Rules of the Road (Navigation Rules). Be familiar with and obey Federal and state regulations and waterway markers. Additionally the operator should have a boat insurance or yacht insurance policy at all times.
Adults and children should always wear life jackets. Many parents believe they can lunge overboard to save a child and their mistaken. When a boat is in motion it’s difficult to spot a child fallen overboard. If a child falls overboard without a life jacket it will not be likely for it to surface instantly. A life jacket can also save a person from hypothermia in wintry water. In most states it’s the law and for children under thirteen to wear them and you must have a life jacket for every person on the boat. Be responsible and set an example to children; make sure to always wear a life jacket!
A float plan is a written document containing the who, what, where, and when, and how of your boating trip. Fill out a float plan and leave it with a person who can be depended upon to notify the local police, sheriff, Coast Guard station or other rescue organization, should you not return as scheduled. A float plan outline can be obtained from the Coast Guard.
Before leaving the dock check the local weather forecast from the TV, radio, newspaper, online, or from a channel on your VHF radio. You can also use a cell phone to find the local weather forecast number twenty-four hours a day. Always be aware of changing weather, choppy water, dark clouds, and increasing wind.
Never overload your boat with passengers and cargo past its safe capacity. Too much load in the vessel may lower the boats trim. Evenly distribute weight in the boat.
Small boats can become dangerous, try to stay low and to the center of the boat. Avoid sudden movements or changing seats frequently.
Anchoring should be done from the bow of the boat with the rope at least five times the longer than the depth of the water.
Propellers can be very dangerous if boaters are not cautious. An injury can happen by leaving the engine on while near swimmers, operator inattention, carelessness, and inexperience. If your engine must be running near swimmers, warn them. Shutting off an engine can save a life!
If a person falls in the water the first impulse is to start taking off shoes and bulky clothing to try to swim better. NEVER take off your clothes, they will help you float and keep heat in. By using H.E.L.P. (Heat Escape Lessening Position) you can keep body heat in. Do this by drawing your knees to your chest. If several people are in the water, huddle together. Wearing a life jacket may also keep your body temperature up.
The Coast Guard can offer additional safety tips and additional free resources for safe boating. Vessel Safety Checks (VSC’s) are offered by experienced members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Contact the Coast Guard or click on our Coast Guard page for more information.