Recreational boating is an American pastime. People love going out in various types of boats, including runabouts, fishing boats, sailboats, cabin cruisers, and pontoon boats. There’s something about spending the day on the water that can’t be beaten. However, a fun day on the water can take a turn for the worse if you’re in a boating accident. Learn some boating safety tips so you can stay safe on the water to enjoy your favorite pastime without getting injured.
1. Be Informed
Boating safety begins with being informed when on the water. Take a state-approved boating safety course. This course will provide you with the information you need to stay safe. Plus, you’ll receive your boating license after you pass it.
Also, educate yourself on your state laws before you hit the water. State laws are created to keep you and other boaters safe on the water. If you don’t know the requirements, you could put yourself and other recreational boaters at risk.
2. Go Over Your Pre-departure Checklist
You need to make sure your boat and equipment and are in good working order before you hit the water. You can accomplish this by going over a pre-departure checklist before taking off. The United States Coast Guard provides a checklist that you can download. Download it, print it off, and review it before you go into the water.
3. Email a USCG Float Plan
Download and fill out a USCG Float Plan before you depart. Email your float plan to someone you trust. This person will follow up if you don’t return by the time you specified. That way, if something goes wrong, someone can search for you and your boat.
4. Be Mindful of the Weather
You don’t want to get stuck on the water in bad weather. Check the weather before you leave and be mindful of any changes while on the water. If you notice the temperature drop, rough weather, or storm clouds, head back to shore immediately.
5. Always Pay Attention
Operator inattention ranks number 1 on the list of primary contributing factors of boating accidents. Taking your eyes off the water for a second can cause a boating accident. Always pay attention, so you can stay safe when you’re in your boat.
6. Never Drink Alcohol
Alcohol is a contributing factor in countless fatal boating accidents. It’s also the leading factor in 19 percent of boating deaths. If you are serious about boating safety, never drink and drive your boat. Drinking slows your reaction time and makes it harder to pay attention. You’re also more likely to be reckless if you’re drinking and driving.
Make Sure You Get Boat Insurance
Even if you follow all the essential boating safety tips, you could get in an accident. That’s why it’s also vital to get boat insurance before taking your vessel on the water. You can get coverage for your boat and accessories and even get special insurance for winter storage. Reach out to a licensed insurance agent to learn more about boat insurance.
Did you know that Freeway also offers boating insurance? Get ready to get back on the water safely with a free boating insurance quote online, over the phone, or at one of our offices near you.