May 16-22, 2015 is National Safe Boating week, reminding anyone who spends their time on the water to think about ways they’ll have a great summer and avoid any chance of becoming US Coast Guard statistic. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has four tips that follow the familiar K.I.S.S. principle – but with a bent for boating safety – that are near universal:
National Safe Boating Week helps boaters look ahead to help plan for a safe summer of the water. © Maddy Roberts
Keep your life jackets handy: This means readily accessible within arms reach, not still in it’s plastic bag or behind compartment doors buried under junk. Better yet, wear it. You’d be surprised at how comfortable and slim today’s newest inflatable life jackets are.
Instruct your passengers on where to sit and how to move about the boat safely. This applies to all boats, but the smallest ones can have biggest problems: swamping, large wakes and overloading can turn your day into one you’d rather forget.
See that all passengers are briefed on where emergency equipment is kept and how to use it: don’t forget to show how to use the VHF radio, and what everyone needs to do in case someone falls overboard (designate a spotter).
Share your float plan with someone ashore to let them know where you’re headed and expected to return. The simple act of telling someone has been demonstrated to greatly reduce a rescuer’s response time.
For more information on boating safety or to take a no cost online boating safety course, go to BoatUS.org.