It’s incredibly important to understand the dangers of the water, whether you're a boating adept or it's your first time on the seas. In the news, we hear about boating accidents all the time; in one glance, anyone can be swept away by pounding waves, wind gales or even just a sharp turn. Although we can't prevent nature from taking its course, serious injuries and casualties can be avoided by taking proper precautions when navigating the sea, a lake, or the ocean tides.
So whatever the purpose for your marine adventure, be sure to follow these marine and boating safety tips.
Marine and Boating Safety Tips
- Let someone know about your trip, time of departure, and where you plan to go! Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, and this is vital information that will greatly increase your chances of being rescued in case disaster strikes.
- Watch the weather forecast. It might not seem significant now, but boating during a sudden storm is no joke. If there is a chance of rain or strong winds, be prepared to return to land immediately; if you notice dark clouds, harsh winds or a sudden drop in the temperature, it's time to call it a day and get back to safety.
- Many people suffer from sea-sickness, but if you have an indoor section of your boat, you should be aware of the dangers of CO2 poisoning, caused by gas emissions in a closed area. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, you should always treat sea-sickness as CO2 poisoning; so if you are feeling ill, assume that you are suffering from CO2 poisoning and go outside for fresh air.
- Maintain and follow a pre-departure checklist. Be sure to include life jackets, distress signal devices, flashlights, food and water (don't drink seawater!), basic tools, extra fuel, fire extinguishers, and a marine first-aid kit in case of emergencies.
- Make sure at least two people are familiar and able to navigate the boat. You never know when someone might become incapacitated and unable to fulfill their position.
- Don't drink alcohol immediately before or during your time on the water. Even though your plans may include kicking back and enjoying the view, it's known that the chances of a boating accident is doubled when there is alcohol involved in the situation. Save it for after your successful adventure!
- Make sure everyone is prepared for the worst. It sounds pessimistic, but it's better safe than sorry. Ideally, everyone on board should have strong swimming skills, know how to properly put on a life jacket, and know how to perform CPR. There are CPR classes and first aid courses available nationwide, so there is no excuse to not be prepared!
If you are looking for even more information and safety tips when out on the water, check out the U.S. Coast Guard's official website!