The National Safe Boating Council Says "Boat Responsibly!" by being alert and careful when taking your boat out, making sure you are prepared and always remember to "Wear It"!
Wear your life jacket every time you are on the water. An accident can happen very quickly and unexpectedly so you must be geared up in order to help yourself and your passengers on board. Most drownings from accidents happen to those not wearing a life jacket. There are so many different types of life jackets today that are smaller and more comfortable; it's much easier to "Wear It!" at all times. Life jackets are part of the gear stylish and knowledgeable boaters wear.
Be a role model! Develop the Life Jacket habit!
Know the Navigation Rules (Nautical Rules of the Road). Knowing the nautical rules of the road is important for all boaters. Knowing what to do when meeting, crossing or over taking another boat can prevent costly damage to your boat, personal injury or even loss of life. Whenever you
believe there is a threat of collision you should slow down, stop or steer away from the situation in question. Maintaining a proper lookout and a safe speed are all a part of the navigation rules and should be an important part of boat operation.
Stay Sober While Boating. It's dangerous to operate a boat when drinking. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all states and is a violation of Federal law. An operator with a blood alcohol content about .08 (equivalent to consuming between two and three beers in one hour for the average 180-lb. male) - is ten times more likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol level.
Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide. All boat engines produce Carbon Monoxide (CO)-an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill you in a matter of minutes. Boaters are killed every year because of improper cabin ventilation, poorly maintained equipment, and careless behavior. You do not have to be inside the boat to be at risk. Boaters have died from exposure on the swim platforms of their boats and in other areas where CO exhaust may accumulate or be emitted. Be aware of the early symptoms (irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, and dizziness). Use CO detectors on your boat and stay off the swim platform when the engine (or generators) are running.
Take a Safe Boating Course. Seventy percent of recreational boating accidents are caused by operator factors -such as failure to pay attention, carelessness, recklessness, inexperience, excessive speed, and failure to watch for hazards. Boating safety courses are available, inexpensive, and quick-a great way for you to learn safety and the rules of the road.
Get your boat safety inspected. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons offers free boat safety inspections and if you don't pass, you don't get a ticket!
Check your gear. Have a quick checklist available that you can refer to before each trip. This can include items like drinking water, adequate gas, anchors, lines, battery, life jackets, lights working, bilge pump working, radio working, cell phone charged. This quick check list can make the difference between a great day out and a bad day out!