Eight boating safety tips you need to know

Boating is a favorite spring and summer activity for lots of people. When the weather turns warm, the water beckons. While it’s important to make sure that your boat has the proper insurance, it’s also important to be safe. Despite the inherent danger of being around boats, you can reduce the risk of something bad happening by setting some “boating safety” rules for your passengers. When you’re around boats, you can’t be too careful.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you stay safe while you have fun on the boat.

1. Take care when docking.

Docking requires extra precautions. These are a few things to keep in mind when you’re pulling the boat into the dock.

  • Just like if you were on a roller coaster, keep arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Nobody wants to have a limb get squished by a boat. That would be painful.
  • Be prepared—have your lines and bumpers ready before you approach the dock.
  • Stick to idle speed when going forward or backward around the dock. Take your time—slow and steady wins the race.  
  • Make sure that your boat won’t be blown away by the wind. Use the line that will keep your boat from getting carried away.

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2. Dress appropriately.

Proper boating attire includes life jackets, flotation devices, and non-slip shoes. Even if you can swim, wear a life jacket. Life jackets are well-named.

Make sure that any kids on the boat wear life jackets that are the appropriate size for them. That goes for adults, too. Buckle up and be safe. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen – sun safety is important!

3. Maintain your boat.

Make sure that your boat meets safety standards. Take care of any necessary repairs so that your watercraft is seaworthy.

Ironically enough, fire is actually a big hazard for boats. To lower your risk of fire, do a frequent check of your fuel hoses and containers. And make sure that the wiring and appliances are okay. For added protection, keep fire extinguishers on the boat and, if your craft has a cabin, put in a smoke detector.  

4. Choose your swimming spot wisely.

Stay away from the marina area if you want to go for a swim in the lake. It’s really hard for boat drivers to see swimmers in the water, and marinas are full of traffic.

It’s important to be safe while you’re swimming by choosing a spot that’s not full of other watercraft.

5. When you fuel up, don’t do it on the boat.

If you need to put more fuel in the portable tanks, stay on the dock. Don’t do this on the deck of your boat.

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6. Consider taking a safety course.

There are classes offered that will teach you all about how to stay safe around the boat. You can take a course through the Coast Guard or Red Cross—then you’ll really be a professional ! Even if your state doesn’t mandate taking a boating course, it’s a good idea to sign up for and complete one anyway. You’ll be more prepared if anything goes wrong.

7. Let someone know about your plans.

It’s important that somebody knows where you’re going to be and how long you’re going to be gone. That way if you’re not back on time, they can alert emergency services.

You can either tell a family member or friend who’s not accompanying you or the staff at your marina. Give them the details about your boat and your passengers, too.

8. Check the weather.

It might be sunny and 75° now, but weather can be unpredictable. You don’t want to get caught in a sudden storm. Be aware when you’re on the water, too. Even if your phone says it’s not supposed to rain or storm, get back to shore ASAP if you can feel the weather start to turn or notice dark clouds. 

Going for a ride on the boat is about having fun. By taking safety precautions, you can prevent a sun-filled, fun-filled day from turning into a disaster. It’s better to take the extra time to be safe than regret it later on.

If you have a boat and you need insurance, we can help! Insuring a boat is kind of similar to insuring a car. Give us a call today and we’ll help you out with insuring your watercraft. We’ll even get you a free quote.