TIPS FOR SAFE BOATING
Life jackets save lives - ITS NOT OPTIONAL
Drowning is the cause of death in 79% of fatal boating accidents where the cause of death was known; 86% of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.
Make sure your boat is equipped with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for all passengers and they are sized to fit appropriately.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before launching your boat, be sure you are confident and comfortable at the helm, following successful completion of a boating safety education course. If you haven’t already done so, enroll in a boating class taught by qualified and certified boating safety instructors, preferably with curriculum that meets approved American National Standard for on-water skills training.
Don't drink and drive
When you mix sun, wind, water and waves with alcohol, you create a dangerous situation that can lead to disaster. According to U.S. Coast Guard reports, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths.
File a float plan
Before departing from your dock of choice, file a float plan with friends, family members and/or your marina that communicates the names of all aboard with contact information including cell phone numbers; your destination with a planned itinerary and stops along the route; and your estimated return time
Engage the ECOS
As of April 1, 2021, a federal law was enacted that requires the use of an engine cut off switch (ECOS), an onboard safety device that is connected to the boat’s captain. Should the driver fall out of the boat, the ECOS will immediately stop the boat’s engine.
Comply with your boat's capacity
Every boat includes a designated maximum capacity rating. Be sure to know this requirement and to follow recommendation to prevent overloading and potentially capsizing your boat. Consider not only the weight of passengers, but also gear, coolers, water toys and other carry-ons.
Be careful and pay attention
A vast number of boating accidents are attributed to operator distraction or inattention. The designated driver needs to be vigilant and to take responsibility for the safety of those on his vessel. Continually “sweep” the horizon and carefully watch and anticipate boating activity.