Water Safety

Boating Safety

Boats are a fantastic resource for transportation and recreation, but they also can be dangerous if basic safety guidelines are not observed. To begin with, every boating excursion should start with a basic assessment of the boat’s condition. Specifically, you should always ensure that the deck is clear of loose objects and that there are no exposed sharp edges. The footing will often be unsteady once you are out on the water, so you want to minimize the potential for injury before you unmoor. This is also the appropriate time to make sure that the boat is not overloaded. Most boats will have a listed weight or passenger capacity. Do not exceed this capacity, and keep weight as low and as evenly distributed throughout the boat as possible. If there is no specific capacity listed on the boat, a general guideline is that on calm water a boat can carry as many passengers as the area of the boat (i.e., the length multiplied by the width in feet) divided by fifteen. Make sure that there is a lifejacket for every passenger, plus a couple of extras to throw overboard in case of emergency. If you are going out onto potentially choppy water, for instance in a river or on the ocean, check a weather report before leaving. If the weather forecast calls for high winds or storms, you should reconsider your outing. As for fuel, most experts recommend that one-third of a tank always be kept in reserve in case of emergency. Marinas and fueling stations are not always readily accessible, so it is a good idea to maintain some reserve fuel in the event that you get lost.

Before you leave, tell someone on shore where you are going and when you plan to return. While the boat is in motion, passengers should not be allowed to sit on the gunwales, protective seatbacks, or outside of any protective railings. Finally, be sure that you are familiar with the anchoring procedure for your boat. Anchors should always be lowered, not thrown, when the vessel has reached a complete stop. In general, the length of the anchor line should be five to seven times the depth of the water. Never anchor a boat by the stern. Finally, be sure to check with the local authority to learn any rules or guidelines particular to the area in which you will be boating. Many lakes and rivers have specific restrictions that maximize safety on the water.

SHORTCUTS TO WATER SAFETY ARTICLES:

Water Safety and Boating Safety Courses
Jet Ski Accidents
Jet Ski Safety
Jet Ski Injuries
Boat Safety Checks
Boat Trailer Safety Tips
Water Skiing Safety Tips
Jones Act
Pleasure Boat Accidents
Fishing accidents
Offshore Accidents
Avoiding Thunderstorms While Boating
The Basics of Lifejackets
The Right of Way in Boating
Using an Anchor in a Shifting Current or Wind
Emergency Communications While Boating
Boating and Hypothermia
Boating and the Heimlich Maneuver
Water Safety and Boating Safety Courses