The last thing you want is for a fun vacation day on the water to turn into a disaster, where a boating accident leads to property damage, injuries and even – in the worst-case scenarios – deaths.
To avoid these potential consequences, make sure you know how to stay safe before getting on a boat this summer.
• Wear a life jacket. When you’re riding on a boat, there must be a life jacket on board for every person. It’s also a good idea to regularly check those life jackets to make sure they’re still working properly.
Also, even though the U.S. Coast Guard only requires that life jackets be present on the boat, it is a good idea to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. Even though it might seem like a pain, wearing a life jacket whenever you’re on a boat could save your life. In fact, the Coast Guard believes that 80 percent of the people who die in boating accidents could have been saved if they were wearing a life jacket.
• Take a boat safety class. Whether you are planning to operate a boat yourself or you will be a passenger on a boat, taking a boat safety course will help. Classes are especially important for boat operators, as 70 percent of boating accidents take place because the person driving the boat made a mistake.
• Only ride with a sober boat operator. While most people would never get in a car driven by an intoxicated friend, the same is often not true when in a boat. It’s easy to forget – when the wind is in your hair and the sun is on your face – that a drunk boat driver can be just as dangerous as an intoxicated motorist in a car.
Do you have other helpful boat safety tips? How do you plan to stay safe when on the water this summer?