The Ultimate Guide to Boat Safety: What Every Seafarer Should Know
Boating is a very popular pastime which can be highly rewarding. However, there are also dangers associated with boating. In 2007, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) reported 688 deaths, 3,686 injuries, and 5,223 accidents due to recreational boating. Property damage was estimated to be more than $53 million. These are the reasons why it’s important to practice boating safety. Whether you are out at sea or at a lake, you have to develop the necessary skills to operate a boat properly. When you are in the boat, you have to know exactly what you are doing. In case of an emergency, you have to know how to react to the situation. In this article, we will look at boating laws, boating safety advice, the weather, and emergencies. This information is provided by Action Donation Services® who partners with the BoatUS Foundation. If you have a no longer needed boat or yacht, consider donating your vessel to the BoatUS Foundation who promotes boating safety.
Boating and the Law
Before you set off on a boating trip, it’s a good idea to learn about the laws and regulations pertaining to recreational boating. Every state has specific boating laws so it’s essential to check the laws in the state where you would be going. Also note that most states update their boating laws every year so what’s permissible the past year may be illegal this year. Boating laws are usually related to vessel registration, boating equipment, accidents, reckless and careless operation, violator education, vessel speed restrictions, boating under the influence, boating safety education, interference with navigation, and more. You would also need to apply for a boating license which allows you to operate a boat legally. It usually involves a course and an examination, just like you are applying for a driving license. To protect you and other boaters, all states have strict laws on careless boating as well as boating under the influence. The USCG requires all vessels to have safety equipment on board such as USGC-approved PFDs, fire extinguishers, whistles, nighttime visual distress signals, and so on. As you can see, boating laws can be quite complicated so it’s best to be fully prepared.
- State Boating Laws and License Requirements
- Reference Guide to State Boating Laws
- Boating Laws and License Requirements by State
Boating: Careless Operation
Boating: Equipment Required on Board
- Just the Basics: Required Stuff to Have on Your Boat
- U.S. Coast Guard Minimum Requirements for Recreational Boats
- Safety Equipment
Boating Safety Advice
Some people have the misconception that it’s very easy to operate a boat but it’s certainly not true. To be an excellent boater, it’s important to know all the parts of the boat like the starboard, hull, keel, rudder, propeller, port, stern, bow, and so on. While you don’t need all the skills of a professional boater, you would have to know basic boat operation. There is also boating etiquette and rules of the waterway. Similar to driving etiquette, boating etiquette promises safer and friendlier waterways. To enjoy your boating trip, learn about the rules of boating, being courteous, passing boats, wake zones, and watching out for swimmers. Most people who go boating also engage in some water sports like water skiing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, tubing, and so on. Find out about safety for these sports. The sea is a vast and it can be dangerous so you have to know about sharks, predatory fish, stingrays, and jellyfish. Some knowledge in wildlife and environment protection would be great.
Boating: Basic Operation
Boating: Etiquette and Rules of the Waterway
Boating: Sports Safety
Boating: Wildlife and the Environment
Boating and the Weather
Weather is a large part of boating. Hurricanes, typhoons, lightning, storms, and other weather elements can ruin a perfectly planned boating trip. To ensure a great boating experience, it’s important to keep track of weather changes and warnings. Learn about lightning safety so you know why lightning is attracted to boats in the water and how to reduce the chances of being struck by lightning. If you are caught in a storm, you have to know how to stay calm and navigate the boat to safety. Find out about all the different types of storms like hurricanes, tropical storms, and so on. Strong tides and currents can also be dangerous so you have to know how tides and currents work.
Boating: Lightning Safety
Boating: Tides and Currents
Boating and Emergencies
Emergencies may occur during a boating trip. Many people think that they would know how to react in the event of an emergency but total preparation is highly recommended. In most situations, you only have a very short time frame to salvage the situation. When panic sets in, all the guidelines and safety recommendations could be abandoned so you have to be mentally prepared to stick to the procedures. During an emergency, you have to contact the USCG immediately. Make sure that all communication devices are in working order and learn all about rescue signals, SOS, flares, and so on. Some people on board may also suffer injuries so it’s essential to learn basic lifesaving techniques like CPR and first aid. Know what to do when someone is drowning or unconscious. Until the professionals arrive, you would have to care for the injured persons so it’s best to be thoroughly prepared.
- Public Safety Rescue Boat Operations
- United States Coast Guard
- Helicopter Rescue Procedure
- Marine Radio Information for Boaters
- Life Saving Signals
Boating: Life Saving Maneuvers