While boating can be a source of joy and a fun time for all, you never know what could happen out on the water. Thousands of people are injured every year and many even die from recreational boating accidents. Having the knowledge and proper skills can prevent you from getting in an accident and even save your life.
Take a Boating Course
Whether you’re new to boating or have been a boater for a while, taking a course on boating is never a bad idea. In fact, most states require you to pass a boating safety course to ensure that you are aware of the rules and regulations for boating and to help keep you and others safe. According to the United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, only 13 percent of boating operators in fatal accidents had received boating safety instruction from a course. Taking a course that meets the U.S. Coast Guard standards could mean the difference between life and death.
Wear a Life Jacket
Unfortunately, many people drown each year because they were not wearing a life jacket. According to the United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, 398 drowning deaths occurred in 2013 and roughly 82 percent of them were not wearing a life jacket. Many of these deaths could probably have been avoided by wearing one, but many people unfortunately opt not to wear a life jacket for casual boating trips.
Knowing Who to Contact in Case of Emergency
You can never be over prepared for the worst-case scenario and even minor accidents may require additional assistance. All boaters should know how to operate their radio system so that they can contact the United States Coast Guard over VHF Channel 16. In addition, they should also know how to specify their exact location with the proper longitude and latitude from their GPS to help a response team get there more quickly. Every second counts during a crisis and having this knowledge could potentially save you and others.
Be Prepared For All Kinds of Weather
A novice boat owner may not encounter problems on a nice day with calm seas, but what about times when the weather takes a sudden turn? Knowing what to do in rough seas and what your boat is capable of handling could very well save your life. Skilled boaters are usually not caught in inclement weather because they are able to read weather charts and know what certain clouds indicate. By having a working knowledge of weather, these boaters know when to head to shore. Even when they are caught in rough seas, skilled boaters know what steps to take to ensure their safety.
Have First Aid and CPR Kits On Board
First aid and CPR kits can make all the difference for emergencies and every skilled boater should have one stored on his or her boat. A simple first aid kit is better than nothing, but it is important to invest money into a decent first aid and CPR kit that could actually save someone’s life and not just a minor injury. All those who regularly operate boats should take a CPR course because it is a skill that could save lives.
Knowing Boat Machinery
The United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division ranks ‘Machinery Failure’ as the fifth leading cause of death in boating accidents. Anyone who operates a boat should have a working knowledge of the inner workings of their boat in case something goes wrong. According to Boating Magazine, one of the most common causes of boats breaking down is a lack of maintenance to the internal parts. Keeping both the inside and the outside of the boat is important in order to not become stranded on the water.