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It doesn’t matter if you’re a boating beginner or if you’re an expert. There are certain boating safety tips that you have to follow. Now, boating is generally a safe hobby/sport, but it can be dangerous, even deadly. This is if you don’t follow these safety tips especially when you’re out in the open water.
Follow these Safety Tips before Going on Board
Here are safety tips that you have to follow before boarding the boat:
Check the weather.
Even if you’re a boating veteran, it’s not really a good idea to go out in bad weather. Bad weather can be very unpredictable. Past experiences may tell you that you can handle it, but things can go from manageable to disastrous in a matter of seconds.
Make a boating checklist and check it before departing.
Make sure that the essentials are all on board including but not limited to:
Personal flotation devices
Horns or other devices capable of producing a loud sound
Lights (flashlights, navigation lights, etc.)
Flares and other signaling devices to signal distress
Fuel and oil (bring extra)
Paperwork (the papers of the boat, fishing permit, etc.)
Assign someone to be the assistant skipper.
In addition to the primary navigator, there should be another person on board who is capable of manning the boat. This person should know the ins and outs of the boat just in case something bad happens to the primary navigator.
Inform people of your plan.
Let family and friends know that you’re going out to sea. Let them know where you’re going and when you plan on returning.
Have everyone wear a lifejacket before leaving.
As mentioned, things can go from manageable to disastrous in a matter of seconds. Things can get pretty chaotic and you may not have the chance to grab a lifejacket in an emergency. If you’re already wearing one, then you’ll be prepared.
Learn how to swim.
This is not to say that you can’t go on a boating trip if you don’t know how to swim, but it will help a lot if you know how to swim. On that note, you can also take a boating course which should teach you boating basics that can help you become safer on a boat.
Follow these Tips During the Trip
Once you’re on the boat, make sure to follow these safety tips:
Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Alcohol can cloud your judgment. For example, recreating the famous Titanic scene with Rose and Jack spreading their arms while at the edge of the boat may seem like a good idea if you’re intoxicated. Worse, elements like the sun and wind will exaggerate the effects of alcohol.
Make sure that you’re not overloaded.
Overloading the boat can lead to a lot of problems. In fact, a boat can capsize just because it’s overloaded.
Follow the primary navigator.
A responsible primary navigator will know how to maintain the safety of everyone on board. Follow his instructions.
Follow the rules when it comes to boat traffic.
This is important if you’re the navigator. Understand right of way rules and make sure to follow them.
Respect the boat and its equipment.
Roughhousing is never a good idea on a boat, especially since you can damage it and its equipment.
Use your Common Sense
This is a safety tip that will apply before and during a boat trip. If you’re just going to use your common sense, everything else will follow. Again, don’t drink alcohol because it can affect your common sense.