Who doesn’t enjoy a day on the lake: soaking up the Florida sun, laughing with friends, cooking out? As you dive into summer, take a refresher on three simple boating safety tips to continue having a memorable and joyful time on the water.
Accidents are by nature unpredictable, so always be prepared! Here are a few essentials to keep onboard:
- Flashlight – If you’re out on the water in the dark and you run out of fuel, or the boat stalls, or you are looking for something, you won’t be able to see anything. It’s a good idea to keep a flashlight and some back up batteries handy.
- Duct Tape – You know what fixes everything? Duct tape. In this case, more specifically a spring leak. Temporarily patch things up, until you are back ashore.
- Bucket – Whether it be a leak or water coming in over the bow, you may be in a situation where you need to get water out of the boat.
- First Aid Kit – Never know when someone will cut their foot on a shell, bump their head, or get sea sick. Keeping a properly equipped first aid kit is essential.
- Whistle – If your safety gear isn’t enough when caught in a crisis, it’s wise to have a way to call for help. Keep a whistle onboard, you never know when your phone may go overboard or the battery die.
- Ropes – Ropes are essential if someone goes overboard, to dock your boat, and to tie down loose items in extreme weather conditions.
- Garbage Bags – Turn them into ponchos in a rain storm, or protect other non-water proof items.
- Fire Extinguisher – Just because you’re on the water, doesn’t mean there can’t be a fire emergency. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible and that everyone knows the location of.
You’re never too old to be safe. Life jackets save lives when capsized, when thrown from the boat, when unconscious from carbon monoxide fumes, when knocked off balance while fishing, or when unable to swim or have water logged clothes.
By law, you are required to have a life jacket for each person aboard.
Need help choosing which life jacket is best for you? Check out the U.S. Coast Guard’s guide.
Have an old jacket you need to test out? Here are a couple of things to look for:
- Test for wear and buoyancy at least once each year
- Water logged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded
- Appropriate size for the intended user: adult jackets are not suitable for children
When all is said and done, the best life jacket is the one you will wear.
Free Vessel Check
Did you know that the United States Power Squadrons will come to you to conduct a complementary assessment on your boat? It’s true, the Vessel Safety Check Program offers free safety checks to boaters intentional to maintain federal and state requirements. Why is this important? It helps boaters prevent being awarded equipment-related citations and reduces safety-related accidents. Learn more, request your own, or complete a virtual examination here!
Get your boat examined, grab your safety gear, throw on your life jacket, and make some memories this summer!
Having a Safe, Fun Time on the Water
Whether you’re a seasoned boater or not, being safe is so important! Having the proper safety equipment, life jacket, and a well-maintained boat leads to a great time on the water. This also goes for hydration, sunscreen, and alcohol consumption. Planning ahead makes you better prepared! Make sure you drink plenty of water and use proper skin protection, including a hat. And also remember that alcohol and water craft operation do not mix. You can risk injury, DUI or even worse. Having fun includes everyone’s safety!
We Want to Hear from You!
How do you plan to enjoy the water this summer?