Summer Boating Safety
It’s the heat of the summer and if you are anywhere near a large body of water and you own a boat, there seems to be only one thing to do to fill the long, hot days. Boating is many people’s favorite summertime pastime, but there are risks and factors that tie into this activity and it is important that everyone knows the safest ways to enjoy long days on the boat.
The most obvious safety tip is to always wear a life vest while boating. Parents, you should set a good example for kids and especially teens by wearing one as well. According to the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association’s 2013 report, nearly 80% of drowning victims were not wearing a life vest and 70% of fatal boating accidents were because the victims drowned. In part, people do not pay much mind to life vests because they believe they’ll have time to put it on when an accident occurs, however, this is unfortunately not always true. Drowning does not take long, only about 60 seconds for adults and 20 seconds for children. However, chances of survival are dramatically increased by simply taking the easy precaution of wearing a life vest.
Before heading out for the day be aware of the forecast. Sudden, and sometimes dangerous, storms can arise quickly and you certainly don’t want to be out on the open water when that happens. Have a good gauge on the time frame for storms and know the best way to get back to shore in case you do get stuck in the middle of one. Aside from mother nature’s risks from above, you need to be aware of what’s underneath your boat as well. Rip currents and water temperatures can be very dangerous if there is a lack of understanding about them. Cold water can limit a body’s ability to swim to its fullest potential and rip currents can render even the most capable swimmer helpless. Finally, never make your first entry into a body of water headfirst. Diving accidents can be avoided by simply never diving into water less than nine feet deep.
Finally, there are plenty of boating courses that you can take as a family to ensure that every member is up to speed on boat safety. Be sure to enroll kids in swimming classes as well. Above all, know your capabilities as a boater and a swimmer and never tackle anything that you can’t handle.
Boating is a fun, warm weather activity that can garner countless memories and good times and being safe and knowledgeable will only enhance your family’s times of fun.