Every year at about this time, we look for ways to improve our practices to increase our safety on board—but what about the safety of the boat itself? This National Safe Boating Week, we’re sharing a few simple ways to ensure that your boat is safe and ready to go when you are.
First aid easily available
Before taking your boat out for its first summer trip, check to see that you have a well-equipped first aid kit on board. A kit with basics like bandages, antiseptic wipes and a few doses of over-the-counter medicine (for motion sickness or unexpected headaches, for example) can help improve your trip and ensure that everyone is safe and comfortable, despite bumps and bruises that might occur along the way.
A clean boat isn’t just better to look at—it’s safer, too! A deck that’s free of clothes, gear or litter strewn across the surface can prevent slips and falls. Keeping everything where it needs to be is also a simple way to prevent your favorite items from being swept up in the wind or flung overboard.
It’s an obvious tip, but it’s an important one. Never venture out onto the water, even in small vessels, without a sure way of communication with someone on land. A marine VHF radio is a must, but you can supplement this safety device with your smartphone. As you probably already know, however, phone service typically drops off after a few miles out on the water—so always have that radio on hand!
Don’t forget the lights! Proper, working lights are necessary for a safe trip on the water, whether you plan to be out at night or not. It’s also a good idea to have a few flashlights on board for when you need a clearer look at night. Consider picking up red lights that can light your way but are a little easier on the eyes in dark surroundings.
Care and maintenance
Of course, a well-maintained and cared for boat is a safe one. This is true for boating throughout the year, but especially during your boat’s first few excursions since being stored for the winter. Check that your boat is in good condition, as well as your trailer if you plan to tow your boat to the water. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary can even help you with a free vessel safety check that will offer you greater peace of mind.
We hope that today’s blog helps you achieve safe, enjoyable fun on the water. Let us know what you have planned below!