When taking a day on the water, there are a few insider rules that only boaters can know and implore onto new boaters. There are other rules that are known among all communities as a way to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. These undeclared laws of boating have helped mariners everywhere to ensure a smooth ride.
- Everyone on board should be wearing a life jacket just in case some unexpected incident was to ever throw anyone overboard. Prepare for the unexpected. Along with that, make sure you have a first aid kit on board since there will most likely be a considerable amount of water separating you from the nearest hospital as well as at least one fire extinguisher.
- Take a boating safety course as a lack of this has led to the deaths of many beginners out there. More than 70% of boat accidents occurred with an operator who did not take a boating safety course.
- Bring a compass because if your motor stops running, you won’t have access to that electronic map bringing you back home. If you’re depending on technology that could give out at any second with the boat, you need to have an alternative that can get you back home without electricity.
- Follow your own pre-departure checklist to make sure you have your rolls of duct tape as extra cup holders and some flashlights if you are staying out through the night. Make sure you have your compass and everyone has a fitted life jacket as well along with any other special items.
- Make sure you check out the weather before you step off that dock and if you see dark clouds gathering above with rough winds, it is then time to get back to shore. Storms have been a big cause for boats sinking throughout history.
- Ditch the alcohol when boating as this will of course impair your judgement. It has been a cause of over 75 deaths in boating accidents during the year 2013 alone.
- Always keep a careful lookout, especially at night. This is to make sure there is no small vessel not visible to the driver especially since mirrors are much more ineffective on a boat than on a car.
- Try to get your vessel checked for safety as this is offered for free. While you’re at it, make sure you have visual distress signals onboard in case of an emergency.
- In the spring, falling in the water or having your boat capsize allows as little as two minutes before you become paralyzed and are no longer able to signal for help. Because of this, it is recommended to wear a PFD (personal flotation device) which will keep your head above water when you are submerged even if you are unconscious.
- Make sure that you tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to stay out at sea before you leave. This way, the authorities can search for you quickly if you do not return and something happens.
So when heading out to sea, these are some rules that many avid boaters keep in mind in case of an emergency and some precautions to consider as well. There are many possibilities that could damage your boat and hurt somebody on board but these precautions can ensure peace of mind and make sure that a small fire doesn’t destroy the whole thing with a fire extinguisher or a small scrape doesn’t become infected with the help of a first aid kit.