Advice for Safe Summer Fun
Summer is a time for vacations, adventures, and hanging out with family and friends. Trips to theme parks, campgrounds, parks, and lakes are prevalent opportunities to bond and reconnect with loved ones. Boating is a favorite summer pastime for many, especially in water-based areas. Whether fishing from a dinghy, cruising on a pontoon or yacht or wakeboarding on a ski boat, there are plenty of activities to enjoy on your chosen waterway.
Like any activity, boating has potential hazards that can cause injuries and even death. For your safety, we’ve compiled some considerations to keep in mind before you take your boat out onto the water.
FOLLOW ALL PROPER PROCEDURES
You shouldn’t be driving into the road if you don’t know how to start, drive, and stop a car properly. The same careful consideration for operating the land-based vehicle is also required for water-based cars. Don’t let the openness of a waterway fool you. Plenty of hazards can be encountered, especially if you are not careful. Become familiar with your boat’s proper anchoring, docking, and operating procedures. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 70% of boating accidents are caused by operator error.
ALWAYS WEAR A LIFE JACKET
It is estimated by the U.S. Coast Guard that more than 80% of boating fatality victims could have survived had they worn a life jacket. Even if you are an experienced swimmer, not all waters are the same and you may find yourself in danger if you venture into unfamiliar territory. Regardless of experience, children are required in all states to wear life jackets.
DESIGNATE AN ASSISTANT SKIPPER
It never hurts to have multiple people onboard who are familiar with all facets of a boat’s handling and operation. This is especially critical in an emergency that leaves one operator incapacitated.
BE MINDFUL OF THE WEATHER
Always be alert about the day’s weather patterns before heading out on the boat. The literal and metaphorical tides can change rapidly. If you are moving the boat beyond the general area of its starting point, such as an enclosed lake, it’s highly suggested to keep an eye on the forecast for your intended destination.
HAVE A SAFETY KIT ON DECK
Just as you should have an emergency kit in your home or your car, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any emergency that might happen on your boat. Recommended items include a flashlight, duct tape, a bucket, a first aid kit, a whistle, ropes, a mirror, garbage bags, a fire extinguisher, and life jackets.
We hope this list serves you well as you enjoy your favorite lake or waterway.
We wish you a safe and enjoyable summer from all of us at Deratany & Kosner.