Summertime means longer days, warm weather, and for some, fun on boats. From kayaks to sailboats to powerboats, many people equate summer to spending an afternoon on the water.
Enjoying your summer and your boat also includes staying safe and secure. There are many things that you can do to ensure you, and all passengers, stay safe on any kind of watercraft.
1. Make Sure Your Boat Is in Good Condition
Prior to putting your boat on the water, it is advisable to check your boat to make sure it is in good condition. This may include checking your seats, rails, lines and steering wheels. If you need replacement parts for boats, you want to get those purchased in the spring or sometime before your next adventure.
2. Have Enough Personal Flotation Devices for Everyone
It is the law in most places to have enough PFDs, or lifejackets, for everyone on board the boat. If there are any people on the boat who cannot swim well, especially children, they should wear a PFD at all times. Before leaving, make sure everyone has his or her own PFD that fits well.
3. Check the Weather Before you Embark
Rainstorms, thunder, lightning and heavy winds are not ideal weather systems for boating and may be very dangerous. If there are any weather warnings in your area for the day or week, depending on the length of your journey, consider rescheduling your boating plans.
4. Create an Emergency Plan
There are many things that may present a challenge when boating, from malfunctioning equipment to someone on board becoming sick or injured. Emergency plans and preparations often include:
- Backup equipment on board
- Communication devices, such as cell phones or walkie-talkies, that are fully charged
- An established series of steps to take if something happens (e.g., if someone falls overboard, person A steers the boat and person B keeps an eye on the person overboard)
If you are going out on a boat by yourself, let someone else know your plans, including where you are going and when you expect to return.
While preparing to go on a safe boating adventure may take some time, the fun and memories are worth it.