When it comes to boat safety, there are several things that get overlooked. Failing to take them into consideration may mean that an unfortunate event occurs. Avoid them by following these tips:
1. Know Your Boat's Weight Limit
People often forget that there's a limit to how much weight a boat can hold. Be sure to check your owner's manual to find out this number. Do some calculations on the weight of your gear, plus the people, to ensure you're not over the limit. Don't run the risk of swamping or capsizing the boat.
2. Have Enough Life Jackets
It's not just about having a life jacket for each person on board. These should function and fit appropriately as well. Even if everyone aboard is an expert swimmer, having to be in chilly water and swim half a mile to shore can take its toll on a person. Also, your local jurisdiction may have regulations on life jacket use, so be sure to follow those.
3. Check the Forecast
Plan your boating adventures around calm, clear, sunny days. If there's a chance of storms, go with your backup plan for the day. You should also have an emergency plan to follow if a storm does pop up, or you face unexpected circumstances. Never get on the water, or stay on an excursion, in bad weather.
4. Maintain and Repair Your Boat
You should already have a yearly maintenance plan in place so that your boat stays in good repair. If any minor or major repairs appear, have the boat serviced before you start using it this summer. You'll avoid a break down on the water and the costly towing bills that come with getting it to shore.
5. Avoid Alcohol
This is common sense. You'd never think of getting in your car after a beer, so don't do it while out on the water. Don't even take adult beverages out on the water. In the event something happens you want all passengers to be completely sober. This ensures you take quick action and get everyone to safety. Many jurisdictions have laws against intoxicated boating, as well.
6. Buy a Proper Boat Insurance Policy
Boat insurance policies vary depending on the kind of watercraft you have. but it's essential to have a policy in place before taking it out on the water. You hope to never have to use your auto insurance, but insurance protects you in the event you need to make a claim.
Follow these safety tips and you, your family and friends will have a great time out on the water this summer!