As the weather gets warmer and more mild, many boating enthusiasts take the opportunity to indulge in some boating. Whether you are heading out in a yacht or a speedboat, however, it is important to review boating safety. Above all, you will want to ensure that you:
1) Take proper boating safety instruction. Boating instruction can help you become a safer boater. Even if you already have basic boating instruction, you may wish to take some refresher courses before taking out your boat for the first time. This will help ensure that you know what to do in an emergency.
2) Avoid boating and drinking. Just as alcohol can cause drunk driving accidents, it can also impair judgment and lead to boating accidents. Many fatal boating accidents each year occur because someone in charge of a boat was intoxicated. Do not let this happen to you. In addition to alcohol, be wary of other controlled substances. Even prescribed and over-the-counter medications can make you drowsy and can make you unsafe on the water. Check labels and speak to your pharmacist.
3) Wear proper life jackets and safety gear. Anyone who steps on your boat should be wearing sturdy shoes and should put on a life vest at once. Life vests help keep you safe. Even if you sustain a head injury in a boating accident, a life jacket can help keep you afloat and can help rescue crews find you. A life jacket can save your life.
4) Keep your boat in good repair. Before each trip, make sure that your boat is in good mechanical condition. Defects and problems can affect the safe operation of your craft. It is important to get your boat regularly serviced to keep it operational and safe. It is especially important to have your boat checked for safety and good repair after a long winter in storage.
5) Avoid speeding. Speed is a factor in many boating accidents. When you speed on the water, the results can be just as devastating as when you speed on land. When you drive your boat too fast, you risk losing control of the craft, colliding with other objects in the water, and causing damage to your boat. Always operate your craft at a safe speed.