Summer is in full swing and many people have started taking their boats and watercrafts out of the storage units and onto the gorgeous lakes. From fishing boats to personal watercrafts, to canoes or pontoon boats, the weather is calling out for a lot of summer fun but also dangers and safety concerns that every person should be aware of. Every year the United States Coast Guard (USCG) compiles statistics on reported recreational boating accidents. Previously in 2019, in their executive summary, the USCG counted 4,168 accidents that involved 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries and approximately $55 million dollars of damage to property due to recreational boating accidents. Whether you are planning on spending most of your summer days fishing on your boat or planning summer weekends with family and friends testing the waves on your new sailboat, below are some helpful safety tips we have gathered from the USCG and the National Safety Council (NSC):
Plan Ahead with the Weather and Create a Pre-Departure List. Just as it is important to shelter in place when a tornado is coming, do not plan on taking your boat on the water when the weather calls for heavy storms and strong winds. You do not want to worry about anyone falling overboard and into the water or risk physical damage to your boat when the weather conditions are severe. Also, create a pre-departure list to make sure you have all safety equipment, first aid kits, extra set of clothes, sunscreen and know the signs of heat illnesses.
Vessel Safety Check. Vessel Safety Checks are FREE every year and offered by the USCG Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteers. It is a free boat inspection that states your boat meets minimum safety standards and that in an emergency you will have the necessary equipment to save lives and summon help. There is no charge, and no consequences if you do not pass. You will receive a VSC decal if your boat passes inspection which alerts Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol, and other law-enforcement agencies that your boat was found to be in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws.
Wear a Life Jacket. The USCG estimates that life jackets could have saved lives of over 80% of boating fatality victims. USCG requires all boaters to have a USCG-approved wearable life jacket on board for every person on their boat. Boating safety advocates recommend that everyone on board should wear a life jacket at all times while boating. Check with your state on life jacket regulations and visit the Wear It program by the National Safe Boating Council on life jacket awareness. Get Help from the USCG in choosing the right life jacket here.
BUI aka Boating Under the Influence. The leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents are caused by Alcohol, which can affect judgment, vision, balance, and coordination. Never use alcohol or drugs before or during boat operation.
Have a Float Plan and Tell Someone You Trust. A float plan tells others the location/path where you plan to be boating. It has all vital contact information from boat operators, to passengers, the boat type including all registration information. Communicate your float plan to your marina, friends, family, or someone you trust so it would be easier to find you and your boat if you should be caught in an emergency.
Educate Yourself and Use Good Judgment. Educate yourself about the operations of your boat and take boat safety courses to build your boating experience on the waters. Be sure to familiarize yourself with boat state laws, as well as the dangers of carbon monoxide when using boats. Make sure you know how to swim and know your limits to avoid injury to you and others.
What better way to enjoy Summer than on a boat on a beautiful lake with friends and family? Be sure to use these helpful boating safety tips and prepare ahead by contacting Paroubek Insurance to learn more about boat and watercraft insurance.
https://uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2019.pdf https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/boating https://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/index.php?m=rb