Steps to Better Boating Safety

How to make the best of your time in the water

Sailing provides the freedom of recreational and sporting activities that you can enjoy from a resort, vacation rental, or from your own home. No matter how many times you’ve sailed along the coast, every time out on the water is a new experience.

This is why safety can be so vital to any boating adventure. No matter how careful or experienced you are, accidents still happen. To get the most out of your water sports activities, brush up on basic safety practices that may save you a lot of trouble later on. This short, simple guide to water safety is essential to really enjoying your vacation before you take out your boat rental.

Be weather-wise:

This means being smart about weather conditions. Find weather reports, listen to local radio stations, or check a weather app on your phone. You can also look at sea reports right before your trip. Having a basic understanding of tides and currents and how it affects your boat rental may help you avoid problems, such as rough waters and strong winds.

During your cruise, keep an eye out for all signs of inclement weather: this means noticing signs such as dark clouds, lightning, choppy water, changing winds, and sudden changes of temperature. When you note one or more of these signals, it may be a good time to get out of the water or head back home.

Be aware of others:

Want to avoid a crash? Boats that are constantly moving tend to meet fast, so keep a lookout and be aware of your position compared to other nearby boats. Don’t underestimate the other vessel, even if your boat is much faster. Stay clear of other large vessels and be alert at all times while on your boat rental. Know the rules, be courteous, and don’t speed around other boats.

Visibility is key, so avoid areas with heavy fog. If you believe you haven’t been seen by the other boat, use flashlights or flares to indicate your position. Pay attention to their lights as well. Understand the local navigational rules and regulations, and always respect buoys, signs, and navigational aids.

Be prepared:

This means keeping all of your safety gear in designated areas, especially your personal flotation devices and life vests.  Refresh yourself and your passengers on the basics of safety and how to swim – your local American Red Cross sometimes has classes and training for all age groups. Their classes are useful for both beginner boaters and experts who want to take a refresher course in boat rental safety.

A pre-departure checklist means being ready for anything that may happen while cruising. Below is a list of items that could prove incredibly useful. What else should go on your pre-departure checklist?

  • A throwable flotation device
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Operable boat lights
  • Extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone
  • Updated maps
  • Flares
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency whistle
  • Extra non-slip boating shoes
  • Extra sun protection – lotion, hats, and sunglasses
  • Bottles of water

At least one person on board your boat rental should know how to handle all of your vessel’s operations, so keep an eye on boat temperatures, fuel levels, and voltage. Have a plan in place in case any of the gauges are off for any reason.

Finally, getting the right boat rental is essential to you and your passengers’ safety. Overloading your vessel with passengers may cause you to be unstable or cause a capsize. Get a rental with protective railings and safety features you feel most comfortable with, and make sure to get one that is large enough for your entire group!

Be communicative:

Good communication on your board rental is key, especially if your group is planning on doing separate excursions during your trip. Create an emergency evacuation plan and let everyone know what to do in certain scenarios so you are all on the same page. Young children should especially be aware of safety rules and should know to wear their flotation devices at all times.

Before heading out, inform close friends or family members where you’re sailing and how long you’re sailing for. Keep on hand a list of phone numbers and emergency points of contact in case of a difficulty.

Boatsetter wants you to have a fun, safe time out in the water. Knowing and understanding the basics means you get to go out and enjoy your favorite activities. This means more surfing, boarding, fishing, sailing, and doing more of what you love. Have fun and be safe!

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