Whether you are brand new to the boating world or are a seasoned veteran, you know that cruising in your boat can sometimes be dangerous. Just like when driving a car or motorcycle, there are some things you need to do to make sure you are safe. If you don’t know the proper safety procedures, then you may end up being a danger not only to yourself, but to everyone else on the water with you.
You should have the proper safety gear on board with you always. It doesn’t matter if you are just looking to fish or to do some water activities, you still need to make sure safety is your number one priority, this includes wearing a life jacket or a personal flotation device (PFD). It is important that you have enough U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on your boat or ship. This includes having PFDs for children that are under the age of 13. Their life jackets need to be fitted properly and meet the U.S. Coast Guard’s regulations. If you have any questions or concerns about the different types of PFDs or when you should wear a life jacket, you can contact your states boating safety center or boating authority.
The first things you should think about before setting sail is the weather. Check with your local weather station, or if you are going to a different city, check their weather reports. If there is a lot of wind it can cause the water to be choppy, which may not seem to bad if it produces small waves, but if the wind is stronger it can cause you to have problems controlling and steering your boat. Also, you will want to watch out for storms because not only can the rain limit your visibility, but it can cause large waves and hazardous water conditions.
Be sure you understand the limitations of your boat. Most ships or boats have different weight limitations. If you over load your boat you run the risk of capsizing, sinking, or simply breaking down away from shore. This also means you should be aware of the different speeds that your boat is capable of. A small motorboat will not be able to go as fast as or drive as a speedboat will be able too, just as a large yacht with have different handling than the other two.
Another safety tip is to follow any rules or regulations for that body of water. This may mean that if the lake you are one has a “no boats at night” rule, then it is possible the lakes coast guard or water authority will be able to give you are ticket. Some places even have a speed limit just like if you were driving a car. It is in fact illegal to drink and operate a water vehicle, just as it is illegal to drink and drive. Depending on the size of the ship, passengers may be allowed to drink while on certain water vehicles, as long as the driver is not drinking.
Owning a water vehicle can be a lot of fun, but you should always remember that you are responsible for every person that is on your boat. This means if someone falls off and gets hurt, you may be held responsible and have to pay any medical bills they might have. If you have boat insurance that has liability coverage then you may not have to pay for all the medical expenses out of pocket. Boat insurance is more than for if someone else’s boat scrapes up against yours, or any property damage that you may cause while operating your boat, but it also can cover liability for bodily injury or you can opt to get additional coverage for if someone who is uninsured drives your boat.