Safety First!

Boating is great fun, but it is important for us to respect the water. There are a few simple safety measures that should be put into place that will help us continue to enjoy our fun as safely as possible:

First and foremost, there should always be a life jacket for each person on the boat. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved 80 percent of boating fatality victims. Also, keep in mind that there is rarely time to reach stowed jackets when an accident occurs. It’s safest to wear them, and keep an approved throwable floatation device accessible as well, so that it is immediately ready for use. Life jackets should also be tested yearly for buoyancy.

You want to be prepared in case of emergency. There should always be a fire extinguisher on the boat, as well as a first aid kit, flairs and a radio (not the kind that plays Five Finger Death Punch). Also, always make certain that someone knows your course and where you are headed so that searchers know where to look in case there is any trouble. And know your water. If not, you could run aground or hit something underwater and cause damage to your hull.

It’s also always a good idea to take a boating safety course. Errors account for about 70 percent of boating accidents. If you were born after January 1, 1988, it is actually required by law that you take the approved U.S. Coast Guard Boater’s Safety Course if you operate a boat with 10 horse power or more.

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