1. Be Weather-Wise: Always check local weather conditions before departure. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.
2. 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.
3. Use Common Sense: This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.
4. 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.
5.Develop a Float Plan: Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else 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:
- oname, address, and phone number of trip leader
- oname and phone number of all passengers
- boat type and registration information
- trip itinerary
- types of communication and signal equipment onboard
6. 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 your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic, and assign and fit each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure.
7.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.
8. 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.
9.Take a Boating Course: Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. 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.
For previous safety tips visit: slcfire.com.