There’s nothing quite like spending the day on your boat with your favorite people by your side. But to make the adventure enjoyable, safety should be foremost in your mind. You need to have the right safety gear, knowledge to operate a boat, and survival tips when things go wrong. Below is a list of our suggested safety and maintenance tips. By following the, you and your water-loving friends and family can have more fun in each other’s company on the open water!
Have the Right Safety Gear
You can’t always predict an emergency, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you have the following items before going onboard:
- First aid kit – this will be useful in case of injuries or accidents. Make sure you have the knowledge to use each item inside the kit.
- Life vest – every person should have one that is US Coast Guard-approved.
- Flashlight – these can help you see in the dark and will also allow you to be seen if you run out of fuel.
- Bucket – water may enter the vessel whether or not your boat is leaking
- Whistle – this can signal help on the water
- Rope – will be necessary for pulling someone in who has fallen overboard
Check the Weather Beforehand
The ideal day for boating is when it’s warm and sunny, but even if it’s a spring day, the water could instead reflect winter temperatures. In the event that your boat capsizes or you and your passengers get wet, make sure you have a plan to seek help and get dry.
Don’t Overload the Boat
Know your boat’s capacity restriction and follow it. Otherwise, it can unbalance your craft.
Complete Full Inspection of Boat
Before boarding, make sure to check your engine for leaks and issues. Check the electrical conductors as well as its features, ensuring that the lights are functioning and the wirings are not damaged.
Prevent Fires while on Board
Monitor the fuel hoses and evacuate any fumes or vapors that might have gone into the bilge or the lowest section inside the boat. Don’t go onboard without checking if your boat is equipped with US Coast Guard-approves fire extinguisher that is also marine-type. This will be helpful in the event of liquid fire from gasoline, oil, or grease.
Carbon monoxide can accumulate in and around your boat and unexpectedly knock you or your guests unconscious. Be aware of all the places fumes and gases can accumulate, such as:
- Inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures
- Enclosed spaces
- Blocked exhaust outlet
- Nearby boats
- When the engine is idling
Test Radio Devices and Develop a Float Plan
Make sure that your radio and communicating devices are functioning. Then, create a float plan and inform a friend or relative of your travel plans and expected time of return so they will know if something’s up.
A float plan is a lifesaving device that is used by search and rescue personnel to assist in reducing the search area in order to locate you in the shortest amount of time possible. With it, you don’t need to count on a friend or relative to remember detailed information about your location.
Follow Proper Anchoring Procedures
To keep the wind from dragging your boat, you need two anchors in a V formation at the front. Drop it in deeper water, about 20-30 feet or so, to help prevent the tide from lifting it
Properly Dock the Boat
We recommend preparing bumpers, mooring lines, and hooks before docking as you return from a fun and safe day out on the water. Let the passengers remain seated while docking. Remember that the engine should also be turned off ass passengers alight from the boat.