Disclosure: This is a guest post.
Boating is a fun, outdoor activity that the entire family can enjoy. Whether you prefer an afternoon in an exciting speed boat, a quiet river run in a canoe, or a relaxing day in a fishing boat, boating safety is essential. When you're out on the water, important boating safety tips may save your life.
Boating statistics indicate that boaters who wear life jackets while on the water and adhere to boating safety laws are most likely to be less involved in a boating accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics show that the four leading causes of watercraft accidents and crashes are lack of attention, recklessness, speeding and operator inexperience. Statistics also show that the leading cause of death from boating accidents is drowning which could be prevented by having proper safety equipment like custom cushion flotation devices on board. For safe boating, follow these important safety tips:
Leave Alcohol and Drugs Onshore
Never consume alcoholic beverages or use drugs before or while operating a boat. The effects of alcohol and drugs can be greatly exaggerated by heat and sun, glare, wind, noise and vibration while on the water.
Keep Proper Safety Equipment On-board
* A working fire extinguisher
* A good radio
* A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on-board
* Boat cushions that float (made with dryfast foam from the Foam Factory)
* A throwable safety device for boats that are 16 feet or longer
* Operable boat lights and extra batteries (boat lights should be tested before leaving the dock, especially when boating at dusk)
* Emergency supplies stored in a floating pouch (first aid kit, flares, maps, cell phone)
Keep an Eye on the Weather
When you're boating, pay attention to weather conditions at all times. Sudden winds, lightning flashes and thunder, and choppy water can signal that a storm is brewing. If you notice that bad weather is approaching, get off the water as soon as possible to avoid danger. Leave yourself ample time to return to shore before a storm approaches.
Never allow passengers to ride on protective railings, boat sides, back or front, or seat backs. If the boat makes a sudden stop, start or turn, the passenger could be thrown off the boat at a high speed. When riding in a canoe or small fishing boat, don't stand or put too much weight on one side. This could cause the boat to tip over.
Loading the Boat
Overloading a boat with heavy gear or too many passengers will make the boat unstable, increasing the risk of swamping or capsizing. If you are not sure of the boat's weight restrictions, check the capacity plate usually located near the boat operator's position or steering wheel area.