Safe Boating Practices

Safe Boating - Father and Son

The summer weather is spectacular for going out on the water with family. About 74 million Americans enjoy recreational boating activities every year. Make the most out of your time with family and loved ones with these safe boating tips.

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1) Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

As a boater, you have the responsibility to take care of your passengers as well as anyone who’s enjoying the water. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that 77% of boating accident fatalities happened in situations where the boat operator received no appropriate safety instruction.

Investing time in educating yourself about the best boating safety practices can benefit many people. The National Safe Boating Council offers free educational resources to anyone who wants to keep themselves informed of approved boating safety precautions.

Just like some car drivers can feel invincible because of their years of experience behind the wheel, boat operators can fall into the same trap and forget some of these basic safety precautions. This doesn't just risk their lives, but also the lives of their passengers.

2) Respect The Speed Limit

Did you know that 14% of boat accidents happen due to excessive speed? Respecting the speed limit is crucial to ensure people’s safety. Whether you have 20 years of experience boating or are new to the hobby, obey any posted speed limits and no wake zones. And, never go faster than what is safe for the water conditions, including chop and boat traffic.

3) Don’t Forget Your Life Jacket

Just like seat-belts save lives in car accidents, life jackets can avert tragedy when it comes to boating safety. The truth is that choosing not to wear a life jacket while boating can very easily become a deadly mistake.

No matter how many years of swimming experience you have, anyone can suffer fatal injuries in a boating accident. Before jumping on the boat, be sure to check that your life jackets are all Coast Guard approved and that you have the right size jacket for every passenger.

4) Prohibit Alcohol Use

It’s imperative to stay prepared for an unexpected hiccup when going out boating. In 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard declared that alcohol is the leading cause of fatalities in boating accidents. The security of the passengers aboard should be your number one priority. It’s always best to stay sober in case of any unexpected emergency.

5) Perform Boat Maintenance

A well-maintained boat will not only shine under the sun, it will also help keep your passengers safe. Many accidents occur due to mechanical issues caused by a lack of prompt and adequate maintenance.

Be sure to change the oil regularly. While the frequency varies from boat to boat, a good rule of thumb is to change it every 100 hours of boating, or once a year. Additionally, check the propellor –if your boat has one- as part of your pre-launch routine to ensure it will function properly when you’re out in the water.

6) Check The Weather

We’ve all witnessed how the weather can completely take a turn for the worst, with absolutely no warning. That’s why it never hurts to take a few extra seconds to check the weather online with a simple internet search.

If you see any abnormality like a darkening sky, a faster wind speed, or if it suddenly gets colder, your best option is head back to shore, dock your boat, seek shelter, and wait for the bad weather to pass.

In the worst-case scenario that a boating accident occurs, the number one priority is the health and safety of your passengers. It also makes sense to protect the investment you've made in your boat. Make sure you count with a great team of agents who have your back by calling 1-800-INFINITY or by getting a free quote online.

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