You learned the rules of the road before you sat behind the wheel of a car. The same should be done before you take the helm.
Just like you studied to get your driver’s license it’s very important to have the knowledge and certification to be a safe boater before hitting the water. Many states require operators to complete a boater’s education course and carry a license or certification proving successful completion. By completing a boater’s safety course you are not only protecting yourself and your family but other boaters on the water.
Accidents can happen regardless of how much experience you have on the water. It’s always a good idea to review safety rules and to leave a float plan with someone back on dry land.
Float plans can include
- Name and address and phone number of trip leader
- Name and phone number of all passengers
- Boat Type and registration info
- Trip Itinerary
- Types of communication and signal equipment onboard
Along with the float plan it’s always a good idea to have a safety check before any trip.
- Life jackets – should be readily accessible
- Life sling or throw able flotation – should be immediately accessible.
- Horn or sound-producing device as required
- Fire extinguishers and a brief description of their operation (P.A.S.S.)
- Flares or other Visual Distress Signals
- Check operation of Navigation Lights
These were just some basic safety precautions. Aside from these avoiding the use of alcohol along with being weather wise and using basic common sense while out on the water will not only make your trip more enjoyable but will also assure you and your passenger’s future trips!