Before you put your boat in and power up the engine, be safe! Be sure you are following a few safety tips:
- Always have life jackets close at hand or, better yet, have everyone on board wear them. 84% of boat-drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Check your equipment. Ensure the lights on your boat are working, pay attention to engine maintenance, and have an emergency/first-aid kit on board.
- Know before you go. Review local regulations regarding operation and depth/topographic maps before boating on unfamiliar waterways. Always check the weather beforehand. Keep an eye on the sky and get off the water if storms are approaching.
- Don’t drink alcohol while operating a boat. It’s best if your passengers don’t drink either because alcohol is a common cause of falls overboard and other avoidable injury.
The top three causes of major boating accidents are passengers falling overboard, boats capsizing, and boats colliding with other boats or objects. And most accidents are preventable—7 out of 10 are due to operator error—so consider taking a boating safety course even if it’s not required. You won’t regret it!