With spring rapidly approaching, our nation’s lakes, rivers, beaches, and bays will be filling up with kayaks, canoes, and sailboats. Whether you are hitting the water for fishing or recreation, it is essential that you practice proper boating safety. After all, as the U.S. Coast Guard reminds us, 70 percent of boating accidents are caused by human error.
1. Wear a Life Jacket
U.S. Coast Guard suggests life jackets could have saved the lives of more than 80 percent of boating fatality victims. While you may think you are a strong swimmer, accidents can result in injury and loss of consciousness. Additionally, there is often little time to reached stowed life jackets following a crash, so be sure you are wearing one at all times.
2. Check Weather Conditions
Never go boating without checking the weather. What starts as a beautiful day can quickly turn windy and rainy, resulting in significant boating hazards.
3. Have the Proper Equipment
Make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment before going into the water. This includes life jackets, an emergency radio, a first-aid kit, flash light, and water.
4. Don’t Boat Alone
Whether you are fishing, kayaking, or sailing, you should always have a partner. Additionally, let a family member or friend know where you are going prior to departing. Tell them when you are leaving and when they should expect you to return to shore.
5. Know Your Limits
Do not push yourself or your vessel too far. If you start feeling tire or if you feel waters are becoming too rough, head back to shore. There will always be another day to get back to the water.