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Staying Safe on the Water: Tips for a Great Boating Experience

8 May 2024 12:20 | Anonymous

As summer approaches and National Safe Boating Week draws near, it's essential to prioritize safety while enjoying your time on the water. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has compiled seven key tips to help you navigate the waters safely throughout the summer season.

1. Stay Updated on Equipment Expiration Dates

Safety equipment such as flares and fire extinguishers come with expiration dates. Fire extinguishers should be replaced 12 years after manufacture, and the dissolvable bobbin inside automatic life jacket inflation mechanisms also has a stamped expiration date. Regularly checking and maintaining this equipment ensures it functions effectively when needed.

2. Choose Comfortable Life Jackets

Wearing a life jacket significantly reduces the risk of drowning. Opt for a comfortable life jacket that suits your preferences from the variety of styles available today, including inflatables and hybrids. Encourage your guests to wear theirs too, and always have a properly fitting life jacket for each person on board.

3. Refresh Your Boating Knowledge

Take advantage of the BoatUS Foundation's free online courses and powerboat training to brush up on boating safety. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the water to ensure a smooth and safe boating experience.

4. Conduct Pre-Departure Safety Briefings

Prior to setting sail, allocate time for a safety briefing with your guests. Being prepared and informed in case of emergencies ensures a quick and coordinated response from everyone on board. Utilize customizable checklists to cover all necessary safety protocols.

5. Inform a Trusted Individual of Your Plans

Before embarking on a boating trip, share your itinerary and expected return time with a trusted family member or friend. In case of unforeseen circumstances, having someone ashore who is aware of your whereabouts can expedite assistance if needed.

6. Maintain Balance and Sobriety

Always maintain a firm stance on the boat by keeping one hand connected to the vessel to anticipate sudden movements. Avoid alcohol consumption while boating, as it is a contributing factor to boating accidents. Save alcoholic beverages for when you are safely ashore.

7. Prioritize Engine Safety

For boats with enclosed engine compartments, run the blower for at least four minutes before starting the engine and after refueling. This precaution is especially crucial after visiting a gas dock to prevent potential hazards.

For further information on boating safety practices, visit and ensure a safe and enjoyable summer on the water.

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