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Boating Thoughts

  • Writer's pictureChampion Marine

Safe Boating Tips

No matter how much experience you have, it’s a good idea for everyone on board to become familiar with boating safety rules before cast off. We hope you will find these 10 basic boating safety tips useful to help you stay safe - We want to see you out on the water for years to come!

Be Weather Wise

Always check the local weather conditions before cast off - TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. We recommend Klystron 9. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water. (What to do if you're caught in a storm)

Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist

Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.

Use Common Sense

Operate your boat at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas).

Observe no wake zones.

Stay alert at all times and steer clear of large vessels and watercraft restricted in their ability to stop or turn.

Be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure boater safety.

Designate an Assistant Skipper

Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.

Develop a Float Plan

Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone ashore know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. A float plan can include the following information:

  • name, address, and phone number of trip leader

  • name and phone number of all passengers

  • boat type and registration information

  • trip itinerary

  • types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

Make Proper Use of Lifejackets

Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure & Wear it!

Avoid Alcohol

Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.

Learn to Swim

If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.

Take a Boating Course

Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Regardless of your individual state's requirements, it's always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course or online course to help educate yourself. What's more, you might meet new boating buddies!

Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check

Consider taking advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard., especially if you're new to boating. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

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