According to the statistics, the number one contributing factor in boating accidents is operator inattention. The second most important factor is operator inexperience. National Safe Boating Month, serves as an important time to remind everyone to make safety a priority, whether you own a vessel, personal watercraft such as a jet ski or wave runner, or simply rent one. No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea to review these boating safety tips to help you stay safe on the water.
- The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to make sure everyone knows how to swim. Taking a state approved safe boating course teaches the basics of boating and water safety and provides information necessary to handle emergencies.
- Before you depart, always check weather conditions and conditions on the water.
- Make sure the boat is properly stocked with a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, basic tools, a whistle, horn, flashlight, batteries, etc.
- Make sure you have enough fuel and check the engine oil and coolant levels.
- Make sure everyone knows the rules of the boat. If you are towing someone on skis or in a tube, make sure the rider knows what to do and assign someone to be in watch the rider to ensure they don’t get into trouble.
- Develop a Float Plan and leave with a family member or at the marina. The float plan should include name, address, and phone number of everyone on board, boat type and registration information, and trip itinerary.
- Most boating fatalities occur from drowning. Equip your boat with jackets in appropriate sizes and types for your intended passengers.
- While knowing basic first aid and CPR won’t save your own life, it might save the life of someone you love.
- Travel safely on the water. There are rules on the water just like on the road. Make sure you know and follow the rules and regulations about boating navigation and right of way.
- Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol not only impairs driving, but also affects swimming and diving skills.
- Do not overload your boat with too many people or things.
- If you wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car for whatever reason, don’t get in the driver’s seat of a boat.
Never become lax about reviewing your safety checklist each and every time you prepare to leave the dock. Enjoy this summer season by boating responsibly!
Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.