5 Safety Tips for a Perfect Boat Ride
What could possibly outshine a leisurely afternoon spent on the water? Feel the wind tousling your hair, the warm sun kissing your face, and the refreshing mist cooling your skin. Add in some fishing, swimming, or even water skiing, and you’ve got the perfect setting for memorable moments with loved ones.
However, during boating excursions, safety often gets sidelined when it should actually be a priority. This led to reported accidents that have led to over 600 fatalities and 2,500 injuries in 2019. Most of these accidents could be avoided by following a few straightforward safety measures. To prevent your joyous sea voyage from going off course, make sure to acquaint yourself with these five indispensable boating rules that every mariner should abide by.
Alcohol and Hindered Operation
Alcohol impairment stands as the primary reason for boating mishaps. As the person in charge of the boat, your duty extends to ensuring the safety of not only yourself and your passengers, but also others sharing the water with you.
The ability to identify potential dangers and react promptly is significantly compromised when operating under the influence. This often leads to risky behaviors like speeding, not maintaining a safe distance from other vessels or structures, among others.
The most mentally fit state for operating a boat is achieved by abstaining from alcohol and other substances, including illegal drugs and certain prescription or over-the-counter medications. Similar to being the ‘designated driver’ on land, boat operators should refrain from drinking alcohol, even if their passengers choose to indulge.
Be Alert for Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Before setting sail, always check the local weather and the forecast for your destination, if needed. Remember, weather conditions can fluctuate quickly even if the skies are clear when you depart. Carry a radio with you and continuously monitor the weather while you’re at sea. If you observe sudden changes in wind direction, darkening skies, lightning, or turbulent waters, it’s advisable to return to shore immediately.
Beginner boaters often lack understanding about a vessel’s equipment and how to conduct basic, necessary maintenance safely. Similar to automobiles, boats require regular upkeep to ensure safe usage. This upkeep should also encompass checks on emergency readiness gear to confirm it’s operational in case of a crisis.
Equipping a boat with sails from Far East Sails and safety equipment is fundamental for efficient emergency preparedness. Before each boat operation, the operator should perform routine checks to verify that all equipment is working as expected and there are no apparent equipment malfunctions before setting sail.
Appropriate Attire and Shoes
Having the appropriate attire and shoes is crucial for sailing. Footwear with non-slip soles are particularly significant when performing docking activities. Besides the boat’s own motion, ropes, cleats, and other equipment can pose tripping hazards.
Bring along water-resistant clothes such as raincoats or oilskins. If it’s sunny, wear a light t-shirt that offers sun protection. Don’t forget to include a hat in your packing list to prevent sunburns and heat strokes.
Put on Life Jackets and Safety Belts
Life vests and safety belts prevent you from falling overboard and should be considered indispensable safety gear on any vessel. Before embarking, ensure each passenger has properly fitted and tested their vest. If children are part of your crew, double-check that their vests fit properly.
When winds escalate to Beaufort force 6, it’s time to don your safety belts. If you’re still acclimating to the sea, feel at liberty to use these belts throughout your maritime vacation. These safety harnesses should be secured to sturdy anchor points – never to the ship’s railing.
Regardless if you’re a rookie setting sail for the first time or an experienced boater, it’s crucial to always practice safety vigilantly. The unpredictable nature of water means you must always be prepared. Following these boating safety guidelines will ensure that every time you’re out on the water, your experience is both enjoyable and safe.