Safe Boating is Fun Boating

Safe Boating Equals Fun Boating

The weather has been heating up in Sacramento, CA, and the coronavirus-related restrictions are slowly being lifted. Many people are getting their boats out and ready to enjoy a little bit of this nice weather.

No matter how long you’ve been boating with family and friends, it never hurts to have everyone on board take the time to review boat safety protocols before departing the dock. From boating operations to essential safety gear, check out these guidelines that will keep everyone having fun and staying safe:

1. Keep a Boating Safety Kit On-Hand

Emergency situations can arise unexpectedly, so having an emergency survival kit on board is a must. Here are some suggestions of what you should keep in your safety kit:

  • First aid kit
  • Life jackets
  • Bucket
  • Flashlight
  • Duct tape
  • Mirror
  • Whistle
  • Ropes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Garbage bags

2. Get a Vessel Safety Inspection Check

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons provide free boat examinations to confirm the presence and quality of safety equipment that meets state and federal regulations. Additionally, they also offer complimentary virtual vessel exams.

3. Enroll in a Boat Safety Class

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 70 percent of boating accidents are due to operator error. Before departing the dock, make sure you have everything you need and are aware of your responsibilities. You can find online courses to save time, and even some options that are free of charge. The Boat US Foundation has complimentary boat safety courses individually designed for each state. There are many resources available at the U.S. Coast Guard.

4. Bring Proper Life Jackets

All boats are lawfully required to include a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket per person on board. Make sure that all life jackets suit the weight and height of each person. Try on any life jackets before buying them. Make sure to fasten the vest, lift your arms up straight over your head, and have someone lightly pull the top of the arm opening. If it still feels comfortable, you have found the proper fit!

5. Be Aware of the Weather

We all know that sunny days are the optimal weather for boating, but sometimes storms can unpredictably approach us. Choppy water and gusts of wind are indicators of an approaching storm. Before your trip, always be up-to-date with local, route, and destination weather and water conditions to guarantee a safe trip.

6. Check for Hazardous Fumes

Before starting the engine, open all hatches and do a smell check for fumes. It is important to know the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, as carbon monoxide can accumulate in and around a boat. It can occur at insufficiently ventilated canvas enclosures, blocked exhaust outlets, under swim platforms, at slow speeds, and more.

7. Practice Proper Docking Measures

When you approach a shore or dock, check that your bumpers are out to avoid craft damage. Be sure to slow down and check that docking lines have been secured. If wind is heading towards the shore, get the boat two feet away from the dock and let the wind pull you in. Then, use the lines to secure yourself. If wind is directed away from the shore, steer the boat so that it is approaching the dock at a 20 to 30 degree angle. Then, secure the bow lines.

8. Practice Proper Anchoring Measures

If the wind is at risk of dragging your boat, you may need to be equipped with two anchors to drop at the front of the craft in a V-formation. This will keep your boat from drifting. To avoid the tide from lifting the anchor, it may need to be dropped in deeper water – 20 to 30 feet is generally sufficient.

Sacramento Boat Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento boat accident attorney. Boat accidents, like auto accidents, can lead to serious injury. If this has happened to you or a family member, call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for my free, friendly legal advice.

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