5 Boating Safety Tips Every Boater Should Know

 In Maritime Law, Personal Injury

boat in port - Stuart MilesA day out on the boat is a great way to spend a warm day in the summer. It’s something that all ages can enjoy being a part of. However, it is important to know the rules of the water just like it is important to know the rules of the road! It is also important to know what you need in order to keep yourself safe in case of an emergency. The following five topics just touch upon what you should know and have before taking the boat out on the water.

  1. Life Jackets: A life jacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is one of the most important pieces on your boat. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90% of those downing victims were not wearing a life jacket.  It is a requirement to have one properly fitted life jacket on the boat for everyone onboard.  Children under the age of 13 must wear a lifejacket unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin. 
  2. “Rules of the water:” The U.S Coast Guard has a set of rules that every boater should be aware of.  These navigation rules help establish actions the boaters should take to avoid any accident or collision.  Every boat owner should have a copy of these rules.
  3. Proper Safety Equipment: This topic includes your lifejackets or PFD’s as well as fire extinguishers, flashlights and other lighting, a bell or whistle, and visual distress signals just to name a few
  4. Location:It is extremely important to know your surroundings. Always stay in marked channels when you are in unfamiliar water and always be aware of other boaters and divers in the water.
  5. Boating and Alcohol: These two subjects do not mix! Not only is it illegal to drink and drive a boat it is also extremely unsafe.

These are only a few topics that are important to know before you take the boat out on the water. Accidents can happen very quickly and you should always be prepared! Unfortunately, boating accidents happen quite frequently in South Florida. Many times these accidents and the injuries that come from them can be avoided with the right knowledge and the right level of responsibility.   

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart MIles

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