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All Hands On Deck! 4 Tips To Boat Safety

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Recreational activities such as boating, jet skiing and tubing can be fun and exhilarating, but can come with some safety concerns. Because approximately 75 percent of all boating accidents are due to the errors in operations, you’ll want to follow the below four safety tips before getting behind the wheel.

1. Wear A Life Jacket

Close to 750 people die in accidents related to boating every year, and the majority occur during the summer months. Vacationers and weekend visitors come to the lake for an escape and to have fun traversing the open waters. Unfortunately, many boaters fail to follow the proper rules and regulations to ensure their safety while boating.

Life safety vests are the biggest concern for boaters, and close to 95 percent of the victims who drowned had failed to wear a life jacket. The vests can be bulky and cumbersome and many feel that they hinder their fun. However, even the strongest of swimmers can have difficulty swimming, especially when in an accident.

2. Avoid Alcohol

Operating a boat and drinking alcohol can be a deadly combination, especially during the summer season when the waters are busier than normal. Unfortunately, alcohol is involved in close to 25 percent of all boating accidents and can cause serious injuries and fatalities.

The engine noise of the boat, glare of the sun, temperature and vibration can all increase the effects of alcohol. In some cases, a boater can find their impairment even worse than getting behind the wheel of a car after a night of drinking. With their judgment and perception capabilities at an all time low, collisions are more likely to happen. Alcohol can also increase hypothermia and reduce your rate of survival in cold lake waters.

3. Follow The Rules

Dependent on the state in which you reside, you’ll find an assortment of boating regulations and laws that you must follow. Before taking your boat out, you need to be responsible and take some time to familiarize yourself with the guidelines in your specific state. The rules can be anything from following a particular speed limit, crossing various spots in the water, to  ensuring your boat is equipped with safety devices and lighting.

The Coast Guard or other law enforcement boating officers can inspect your boat at any time to make sure that you comply with the specific regulations.

4. Stay Alert

Taking your eyes off the waters for just a moment can cause you to run into another boater, water skier, tuber or swimmer. Staying alert and keeping both hands on the wheel of the boat can ensure your own safety and the security of the other passengers in the boat. If you feel drowsy or are unable to handle the boat properly, you need to designate another driver to get you back safely to your destination.

The summer months are ideal for boating fun and adventure but it’s also a year round activity. However, before you navigate the open waters, you want to follow the above tips to provide a safe environment for you and your family.

Nadine Swayne presents these tips to all boaters taking to the water. Attorney Kevin W. DeVore, found online at, can offer more information about DUI and steps to take if you are unfortunately injured while out on the water on vacation.

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