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Home > Blog > Boat Accident > Tips on How to Be Safe on the Water this Summer
by: NPHM | July 23, 2021

Tips on How to Be Safe on the Water this Summer

With summer in full swing, Americans are taking their boats out on the water more often and inviting friends and family to join them. More than 11 million recreational water vessels are registered in the US, so it’s likely that you’ll get an opportunity to be on a boat this summer. While enjoying yourself with your friends, it is important to keep certain rules, regulations, and safety guidelines in mind.

Each year, the US Coast Guard reports approximately 4,000 boating incidents, 80% of which cause serious or fatal injuries. These incidents result in over $45 million in property damage. To keep you and your friends and family safe, keep the following tips in mind.

On-Land Checks

First and foremost, the owner or driver of the boat should establish a departure checklist. This checklist should include items such as:

  1. (1) Ensuring the correct number of life jackets are on board.
  2. (2) Checking the weather and dressing appropriately.
  3. (3) Making sure you have necessary equipment in case something should happen. The top priority equipment items are a first aid kit, maps and navigation tools, an anchor and extra line, radio equipment, and life jackets.

Life jackets are essential whenever you go out on the water, even if everyone aboard the boat knows how to swim. In 2017, 76% of boating deaths were due to drowning, and 84% of the drowning victims were not wearing life jackets. If you plan to be gone for multiple hours, make sure someone on land knows you’re going out, who is with you, and how long you’ll be gone.

Driver Checks

Every state offers a motorboat safety and driving course, similar to drivers’ education for the road. If you are driving a motorboat, you must take one of these courses to learn the nautical “rules of the road” and what to do, for example, when you come across another boat on the water. Learning the meanings of the buoys on the water is also important because they function as traffic signs and warnings.

Drivers should ensure that they are not the only one on the boat who knows how to operate it and where all the safety equipment is. If something should happen to the driver, you don’t want to get stranded. Additionally, the driver should always wear a lanyard cut-off switch for the engine, so if they lose their balance or fall overboard, the engine will cut out.

Time For Fun!

You don’t go out on a motorboat just to worry about the possible safety risks. You go out to have fun and do all sorts of water activities like water skiing and tubing! And yes, even if you know how to swim, you should wear a life jacket when doing these activities. Anytime you are in the water, you should wear a life jacket. When you go tubing or water skiing, designate someone on the boat to be the “spotter” who watches the people on the water to make sure they don’t get too close to the propeller and to notify the driver if someone falls into the water.

Remember to stay safe and have fun this summer!

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