You planned the perfect day out on the water. You bought the food and drinks, invited your friends and brought plenty of suntan lotion. Then the unthinkable happens. You crash into another boat or slam into the docks, and someone gets injured.
According to the American Boating Association (ABA), 6.5 deaths occur per 100,000 registered recreational vessels in the United States. If you want to avoid a tragic end and enjoy your day out on the water, keep reading for some tips to prevent boating accidents.
Stock enough life jackets
The ABA reports that 86 percent of drowning victims do not wear life jackets. This simple safety precaution would cut down on boating fatalities by a significant amount. Always carry enough life jackets for every passenger onboard your vessel.
Equip safety essentials
Besides life jackets, your boat needs flares, navigation lights, a whistle, a horn or siren, a first-aid kit, an anchor and a fire extinguisher. This is the bare minimum, and you should consider investing more to keep your passengers safe. The U.S. Coast Guard provides free safety checks, so there is no reason for you to pilot an unsafe vessel.
Pay attention to the weather
Always know what to expect from weather conditions. Return to shore at the first sign of trouble. You do not want to be in a small vessel in the middle of a storm.
There is much more to boating safety besides the advice listed above. Contact your local marina about taking a boating safety course to prepare yourself for every situation. Do not leave the lives of you and your loved ones up to chance.