12 tips for summer boating safety

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In 2020, the US Coast Guard counted 5,265 accidents resulting in 767 fatalities, 3,191 injuries and approximately $62.5 million in property damage as a result of boating accidents.

1. WEAR A LIFEJACKET

Whatever activity you have planned on the water, remember to always wear a life jacket

every time you’re on the water. Accidents on the water can happen far too quickly to reach and

put on a stowed lifejacket.

Make sure your life jacket is US Coast Guard approved, suitable for your boating activity

and fits properly. A lifejacket that is too big or too small can cause different situational problems.

CLICK HERE for everything you need to know about life jackets and how to choose the right one.

2. KNOW STATE NAUTICAL LAWS

Rules and laws may differ from state to state, and violations may result in tickets, fines, or jail time.

Click on the links below for boating information in your state.

3. TAKE THE BOATING SAFETY COURSE

Learn valuable tips that can save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA

(National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course. Many courses are online, and will save you money on your boat insurance.

Click on the links below for nautical education in your state.

4. MAKE SURE YOUR BOAT IS PREPARED

There are many things that need to be checked and rechecked on any boat. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with your local US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons before entering the water.

Every ship security check is done 100% free of charge.

5. KNOW THE CAPACITY OF YOUR BOAT

If you have too much on your boat, the boat can become unstable and capsize.

6. CHECK THE WEATHER, INCLUDING WATER TEMPERATURE

Know the latest marine weather forecast before you go out and check regularly for changing conditions.

Check out your local forecast report below:

7. DRESS PROPERLY

Always dress for the weather, wear layers if the weather is cooler and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

8. SUBMIT A FLOAT PLAN

File a sail plan with someone you trust that includes details of the trip, boat, people, towing vehicle or trailer, communications equipment and emergency contacts. Learn more about floatplancentral.org.

9. FOLLOW NAVIGATION RULES

Know the “rules of the road” such as operator responsibility, maintaining proper supervision, safe speed, crossings, head-on encounters and overtaking situations. Know what’s going on around you at all times and always travel at environmentally safe speeds.

10. DON’T DRINK AND BOAT

Alcohol has been listed as one of the leading contributors to boating-related deaths. Learn more about operationdrywater.org.

11. CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Boat gasoline engines, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can poison or kill anyone who breathes too much of it. Be sure to install and maintain a working CO detector, never block exhaust outlets, and always moor, dock or anchor at least 20 feet from the nearest boat that uses a generator or a motor.

12. KEEP IN TOUCH

Communication devices may be the most important emergency equipment on board a ship, especially in an emergency. Make sure you have at least two communication devices that work when wet, such as satellite phones, emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs), VHF radios, and personal locator beacons ( PLB). And know how to use it.

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