It’s officially warm enough that boaters all over the country can start enjoying time on the water again. That means making memories and having fun, but it also means it’s a good time to remember how to keep everyone safe on the water. Whether you’re spending an entire day on the boat or just going for a short ride, make sure you and everyone on the boat are practicing these summer boating safety guidelines.
Summer Boating Safety Tips
1. Make sure all children wear life jackets whenever they’re on the boat or near the water. Kids are fast and they can be overboard in the blink of an eye. Don’t count on being able to keep kids safe by “keeping an eye on them” at all times.
2. Make sure there is a life jacket on board for every adult. Never take on more riders than you have personal floatation devices to accommodate. At the beginning of the season, make sure each adult has a life jacket that fits properly. Replace any that no longer fit.
3. Don’t drink and drive a boat. For the same reasons you don’t get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol, you should never operate a boat when you’ve been drinking.
4. Check your safety equipment regularly. Fire extinguishers, safety lines, anchors and other safety equipment should all be checked to make sure they’re in proper working condition.
5. Take a boating safety course. Consider taking a safety course and having other adults and older children in the family taking a course. This is the best way to learn how to avoid collisions with other boats, handle sudden changes in weather, and deal with any unexpected emergencies that could occur on the water. Your state DNR likely provides courses or will be able to direct you to an accredited organization that does.
Taking the time to be safe on the water ensures that everyone will be able to enjoy the summer and many summers to come. And of course, remember to practice green boating all year long, too!