5 Boat Handling Safety Tips to Keep Passengers Safe

According to the American Boating Association, over 600 boating-related deaths occurred in 2019 alone. Despite what some boaters may think, operating a boat can be just as dangerous (if not more so), than driving a car.

Fortunately, knowing how to handle your boat properly can keep both you and your passengers safe.

Here are 5 boat handling safety tips to help you and your passengers have a great time while staying safe.

1. Always Have Enough Life Jackets

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising number of captains neglect to bring enough life jackets aboard their vessel. This habit tends to be more common with new boat-owners or individuals who plan to boat “in the shallows” where they think the dangers of drowning are less likely.

Regardless of what activities you have planned or how deep you’re going, one life jacket per passenger is a non-negotiable safety must.

2. Pack a Boat Safety Kit

Accidents happen. To safely operate your boat, you should always have a safety kit on hand.

Some basics to include are:

  • Bandages
  • Antibacterial cream
  • A flashlight
  • Ropes
  • Whistles
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A mirror
  • A bucket
  • Fresh water

You never know what can happen while boating. It’s better to be over-prepared than without one of the essentials.

3. Follow the Rules of Driving

The rules for driving a boat are pretty similar to those of driving a vehicle. Use common sense when on the water.

Stay to the right of other boats. Be aware of the speed limits. Know where the no-wake zones are. Look behind you before taking sharp turns.

If you find yourself involved in a boating accident, it’s wise to hire maritime injury lawyers who have experience dealing with this unique type of accident.

4. Check for Carbon Monoxide

Unfortunately, even many experienced boaters are unaware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning while riding in a boat. Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially dangerous for small children riding in the rear of the boat.

To avoid this danger, keep children near the front of the boat where they are less likely to inhale fumes. Avoid idling.

It’s also vital to get regular checks of your engine to make sure it’s burning fuel properly. The CDC has excellent guidelines and tips on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning while riding on and operating a boat.

5. Know Proper Docking Procedures

Docking your boat can be one of the hardest parts of proper boating safety. Wind, tides, and weather can quickly change things.

For example, if the wind is blowing away from the shore, approach the dock at about a 25-degree angle to make up for how far the wind will move you.

If you’re new to boating, consider taking a course to learn how to safely operate and dock your boat.

More Safe Boat Handling Tips

Boating should be a joyful hobby, never a tragic one. Keep you and your loved ones safe by following proper boat handling procedures.

For more tips and hacks, browse the Lifestyle portion of our blog.

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