Boating Safety Tips

Boating is a wonderful, satisfying hobby, but it’s also a big responsibility.  The best way to ensure the safety of a boat’s captain (and its passengers) is by exercising caution when out on the water.  Being aware of one’s surroundings can also help preserve the environment, a pertinent issue that continues to raise concern.  Sadly, there are a segment of boaters who seem to take the water – and the animals living within it – for granted.

Life Jackets Wear Them Poster. Image Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District.

Boating Best Practices

Most government bodies require at least some degree of boat safety.  In Canada, for example, a sail boat must be equipped with a sound-signaling device and a watertight flashlight.  Life jackets and fire extinguishers are other common requirements.  There is, however, much more that can be done to keep boating excursions safe.

Make sure that boating equipment is in working order before taking a trip (such as paying  special attention to the boat’s engine, propellers, lights and other key components), and never set sail with a captain who does not know how to properly operate their boat or boating equipment.  Avoid setting sail on overly windy or stormy days, and never, ever operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends keeping light flares on board as well as a fire extinguisher, and stresses the importance of learning to properly use an anchor.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to enroll in basic first aid training and keep a first aid kit on board either.  First aid courses are offered in most cities and can be located using online search engines.

Boating and the Environment

Last month, we stressed the importance of respecting the environment when out on the water.  Checking the water for nearby animals before starting a boat’s engine can help avoid unnecessary pain and suffering.

The Clean Boating Program is an initiative designed to protect the environment and offers many great tips and earth-friendly products to keep in mind.  There is an environmentally-friendly alternative to nearly every aspect of boating, from cleaning the vessel to maintaining fuel and bilge.

Click here to read more about eco-friendly boating solutions.

Remember: A happy boater is a cautious boater.  Here’s to safe and fun-filled travels for many years to come!

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