Boating Safety Tips – 6 Things You Need to Know to Avoid Evergencies
In 2017, there were over 1,500 boating collisions and nearly 500 accidents caused by flooding or swamping in America. These accidents accounted for approximately half of the total reported boating accidents that year.
Experienced boaters know that emergencies can happen, but it’s easy to forget basic boating safety tips when you’re out on the water having a good time or doing your job.
One way to protect your money is to get coverage for your boat with a cargo and liability insurance policy. The best way to protect yourself and others on board is by practicing good boat safety.
Read on for six useful boater safety tips that will help you to avoid emergencies.
1. Mind Your Propeller
Whether your passengers are sitting close to the rear or enjoying the waters nearby, you should always be mindful of their proximity to the propeller.
Even if everyone is seated inside the boat, assess the situation before you start your boat’s engine. Make sure no one is within striking distance, and always wear your emergency cut-off switch.
In the event that others are swimming, floating, or tubing near your boat, ask one of your passengers to keep a constant eye on the propeller. This is especially important if you are tugging passengers on a recreational device like a water ski or innertube. Any change in direction or speed may bring them closer to the propeller than you anticipated, and you will need to be ready to shut off the engine at any moment.
If you often travel with passengers, consider getting additional equipment like sensors or guards that will protect others from getting struck by the propeller’s blades.
2. Make a Float Plan
Don’t go out on the water without letting someone know that you’re doing so. This may not seem like an effective way to prevent an emergency at the moment that it occurs, but it is important that someone onshore is conscious of your absence.
Whether it’s someone at home or an employee of the marina, be sure to leave the appropriate information behind. Tell your designated float plan partner your intended route, when you plan to cast off, and when you plan to dock. If your float plan partner is not a personal friend or companion, be sure to give them the information necessary to contact your loved ones in the event of an emergency.
3. Carry the Right Safety Equipment and Make Sure It’s Working
If you bought your flashlights and your radio back in 1990 and haven’t used them since, you might want to test them out to make sure they’re actually working. In all seriousness, make sure you have the proper boating equipment and that it’s all in working condition before you find yourself stranded.
This includes simple things like a bucket, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. It also includes more heavy-duty, regulated equipment like navigation lights.
Even if you don’t make it a habit to go out at night, navigation lights are necessary. In fact, they are required by law in times of low visibility, not just when the sun is down. To that end, you also need to know how to use your safety equipment.
4. Get Regular Boat Inspections
To the untrained eye, it can be hard to detect issues like leaky gas tanks or exhaust outlet blockages. Get your boat inspected at least once a year to make sure that everything is in tip-top shape before going out on the water.
One of the biggest risks you’re taking by not getting your boat inspected is exposing yourself and your passengers to carbon monoxide fumes. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and causes those who breathe it in to lose consciousness. Oftentimes, people won’t recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially because they are fairly similar to the symptoms of seasickness.
Boat inspectors are likely to notice any issues that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, but there are extra precautions you can take, as well. Install carbon monoxide detectors around your boat that will alert you to a leak before it’s too late.
5. Don’t Underestimate Mother Nature
We’ve all seen weather forecasts that predict 100% sun and clear skies on days that turn out overcast and drizzly. Make sure you check the hourly forecast before setting out on your boat, but don’t forget to check in with your own common sense, too.
If heavy clouds are rolling in or the wind is picking up, consider going closer to the shore. As we mentioned earlier, be sure to deploy your navigation lights if a fog rolls in or the sky darkens heavily.
Weather patterns can change course and severe storms can strike suddenly. Don’t let yourself get caught out on dangerous water because you didn’t think much of the clouds overhead.
6. Wear a Life Vest
Of all our boating safety tips, this may seem like a no-brainer. Even the youngest of boaters know that life vests are meant to be worn whenever the boat is on the water. However, it’s not uncommon for people to forgo their life vest because they are strong swimmers or to keep it nearby, rather than on.
You may have no intention of getting in the water, but you never know when your boat has other plans for you. It’s not impossible for passengers to be thrown from a boat or for a boat to flood and sink. The life vest on your seat won’t do you much good if you’re already in the water!
This goes for strong swimmers and doggy-paddlers alike. Strong currents, even those created by the boat, itself, can pull under the best swimmers.
Protect Yourself by Following Our Boating Safety Tips and Protect Your Cargo with Insurance
It’s always important to follow boating safety tips, as safe boating is your best defense against accidents. However, you can’t always predict or prevent everything.
Boating insurance is the best way to make sure you’re fully protected when the worst happens. If you want more information about our services, contact us today.