The Necessity of Boating Safety Training and Best Practices
Boating is great fun and it can be tempting to let your guard down and dismiss essential boating safety measures in the desire to get out on the water. We must be mindful that nothing ruins a pleasant day of boating more than a breakdown, injury, accident, or mishap. Remember, the best way to have fun with your boat is to always be safe.
Fortunately, the majority of boaters take boating safety very seriously. But mistakes happen and we have all experienced our share of boating mishaps, breakdowns, careless maneuvers, and near misses. Fortunately, in most of these situations, no one gets hurt and we can merely laugh at someone else's boating mistakes as a fond memory.
Sadly, some boating accidents do lead to tragedy and injury. The sobering truth is that these accidents are often preventable and avoidable with just a little bit of safe boating training and best practices. It is believed that nearly 80% of boating-related fatalities every year result from just drowning alone. Many of these fatalities could have been prevented if life jackets were worn securely by all of the passengers at all times.
A prepared and experienced boater will always have suitable nautical charts onboard their vessel and will be accustomed to their surroundings. It is also necessary to have an understanding of navigation, aids to navigation, and the rules of the open water. These simple, yet often neglected basics lead to numerous unfortunate mishaps on the water. Additionally, each boater should file a float plan with a friend or family member that describes the activities that are planned for the trip. This plan is very helpful because it provides the Coast Guard with a general area to search in case you are missing for an unreasonable amount of time. Just this step alone could make a huge difference.
It is also absolutely necessary that your vessel has safety equipment on board. The list of equipment required includes, but is not limited to, personal flotation devices (PFD's) that are a good fit for each person onboard, flares, a bell, whistle, fire extinguisher, cell phone, VHF radio, and sunglasses wipes. Sunglasses wipes are necessary to ensure you have clear vision while you are navigating your boat. They also provide the added benefit of protecting your glasses from scratches.
Fortunately. most of these boating safety measures can seem very apparent. But there is a reasonable amount of safety knowledge and awareness that you are required to know too. Not only to pass the boating license tests but more importantly, to ensure your safety and the safety of your boating passengers too. Please keep in mind that the boating safety rules and regulations can vary from state to state. All 50 states in the US provide boating safety education programs. With many of these courses now available online due to the pandemic, there is no excuse not to sign up for one of them. If you are interested in boating, then you should seriously consider enrolling yourself in a course on boating safety. A boating safety education course will teach you the most current regulations, tips, and information.
Protect not only yourself but your family and friends with some of these safe boating tips and be better prepared the next time you go boating.