Boating Safety Rules
Whether you are an experienced boater or just a beginner compliance with safety rules and practices is essential for enjoyable boating experience. Before you depart make sure you along with your crew and passengers review basic boating safety rules.
1. Check the Weather
First of all you must check the weather forecast on TV, Internet or radio before planning a voyage. If there are signs of darkening clouds, severe gasps of changing winds or the temperature drops suddenly, you had better stay off the water.
2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist
In general, boating safety means the boater must be ready for any possibility on the water. The easiest way to ensure adherence to all boating safety rules is to follow a pre-departure checklist.
3. Rely on Common Sense
Boating safety will never be complete without the use of your common sense. Sailing at a safe speed, especially when you are in crowded areas, staying alert all the time are just some of the examples. It would also be wise to steer clear of large vessels that can't stop or turn easily. Also, never ignore buoys and other navigational aids that ensure your safety.
4. Appoint an Assistant Skipper
At least two persons on board should be versed in handling, operations, and general safety of the boat. Providing the person in charge of navigation is injured or unable to run the boat there should be a person on board who will get the passengers back to shore safe.
5. Develop a Float Plan
It is important that some person, either a family member or an employee at your local marina knows when and where you are going to sail on your boat. In other words, consider developing a float plan and then give it to the person you trust. The plan may include such information as:
- names and contact information of the trip leader and all passengers; - the route you plan to follow; - boat type and registration information; - communication and signal equipment used on board, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
6. Use Lifejackets Properly
According to the statistics, most people who got drowned are boaters who didn't wearing their lifejackets. So make sure that each member of your onboard team has a properly fitted lifejacket and wears it during the trip!
7. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol restriction is part of the boating safety rules. The chances of having a boating accident increase twice when alcohol is consumed and studies reveal that the effects of alcohol are enhanced by sun and wind.
8. Learn to Swim
Ability to swim is an important part of boating safety. Many local organizations, including the American Red Cross, conduct swimming classes for people of all ages and abilities. Consider checking what training is being offered in your area.
9. Take a Boating Course
A boater must know the boating safety rules of operation. Although each state has different requirements concerning boater education most do require a boater to take at least one boating safety course. Your safety and safety of your boat team are of paramount importance as being prepared for every possible circumstance can save someone's life. So consider completing some local community course or online course devoted to boating safety rules.
10. Get a Free Vessel Safety Check
The U.S. Coast Guard offers a free vessel safety check. A specialist will inspect your boat absolutely free to check the presence and condition of safety equipment required by state and give helpful boating safety recommendations. The U.S. Coast Guard offers virtual online safety checks as well.