Holiday Boating Safety Tips

As you go out on the water next week (and throughout the holidays), it’s always a good idea for boaters and their guests to refresh their safety knowledge to prevent a mishap. The marine industry experts at are reminding boaters of several vitally important safety tips this season:

1. Fireworks on boats? Not a good idea!

It may seem obvious, but doing fireworks on boats is never a good idea. The Consumer Product Safety Commision reports that on average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. In 2017, they also reported eight deaths related to fireworks. Instead, take your boat to a location where you can watch a professional fireworks display.

2. Gear up

There’s no way to predict when an emergency will happen — so it’s critical for every captain to have essential gear, like flashlights, batteries, ropes, duct tape, a waterproof whistle and a well-stocked first aid kit available at all times. It just might save a life.

3. Check that weather app

There are few surer ways to end up in hot water while boating than to ignore weather forecasts. Also pay close attention to sudden changes in wind and water conditions.

4. Jackets required

Nothing’s more crucial in an emergency than a properly-fitted life jacket. Not only does it serve as a floatation device, it’s also designed to keep an unconscious person face up — which may prevent drowning and even hypothermia.

5. Create a pre-departure checklist

It’s easy to overlook some important safe boating tools when prepping for a fun day on the water. Review a checklist before every trip to make sure you’ve got everything you need.

6. Get an official safety check

Make sure your vessel is in good shape after a long winter. The Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadrons offer free vessel safety checks. There are no consequences for failing the check and it just might identify an issue you didn’t know existed.

7. Take the sniff test

This is another safety tip especially useful after a winter hiatus. After refueling, open all the hatches and smell for fumes. Carbon monoxide can easily accumulate in enclosed spaces, blocked exhaust outlets, and other spots — creating a major safety hazard.

8. Make a float plan

Leave a float plan with someone on shore. That way, in case of emergency, they’ll know something has gone wrong. Include the names of all persons on board, boat type, itinerary, types of communication options, and the time you expect to return.

9. Invest in a life jacket light

They provide a variety of safety features. If you fall in the water, a light will automatically come on and help people find you should the current move you away from the boat. It will also warn any nearby boats in the event that you are not visible. These lights are very affordable and easy to buy online.

As you go out on the water next week (and throughout the holidays), it’s always a good idea for boaters […]

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