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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Boating Safety Tips

I just read the obituary of a 50-year-old man who was tragically killed in a boating accident. Although that accident is still under investigation, it illustrates that there are safety risks involved in boating and you must make every effort to minimize those risks.

I found a vessel safety checklist from the Coast Guard Auxiliary that you should definitely check out: Virtual Vessel Safety Check. They also have the checklist in a PDF version: Vessel Safety Check.

One of the most important things to do when going out on a boat is to WEAR A LIFE JACKET! The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that a life jacket could have prevented over 80% of the fatalities from boating accidents. There are certain life jackets that are designed to keep your head above water, which allows for proper breathing. Even if you are a good swimmer, you should wear a life jacket in the event that you are knocked unconscious in an accident. (see link at the end of this article for more on life jackets)

Here are some tips for safe boating:

Do not drink alcohol or consume drugs while operating a boat of any kind.

Obey all regulations for the particular place you are boating.

If you are in a motor boat, do not speed. Don’t “hot dog” it to impress your friends.

Make sure you have the proper equipment on board.

Pay attention if you are driving a boat. Do not do other things that distract your attention from where you are going. Have a lookout to help you look out for other boats in the area.

Share the water with other boats. Be courteous at all times.

Pay attention to all signs and barriers in the area where you are boating.

Here are some links to other useful safety information:

Wearing Your Life Jacket

Tread Lightly!’s Tips for Responsible Motorized Boating

Reference Guide to State Boating Laws - Know the boating laws in your state.

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