National Safe Boating Week
Even if you’ve been boating for many years, National Safe Boating Week is a good time to check your boat’s safety equipment. Life jackets, fire extinguishers, and a radio that enables you to call the Coast Guard if needed should all be in good working order.
In 2020, boat ownership increased exponentially. With 82,000 personal watercraft, 14,000 wake boats and 143,000 fishing and pontoon boats purchased, the waterways are busier than ever. Keep yourself and your passengers safe by making sure you have the proper gear in good working order before you leave the dock, and make sure the Captain always wears the safety lanyard while underway. Here’s a quick checklist for review.
Are there enough flotation devices for everyone on board and does everyone have the appropriate size? If they are inflatable, make sure the cartridges have not expired and are in good working order.
Do you have a throw cushion that is easy to grab and throw to someone that is overboard and in distress?
Is your fire extinguisher accessible, fully charged and the right size for your vessel?
Do you have flares handy? Be sure that your flares are not out of date. You may want to consider purchasing a battery powered signaling device in place of the traditional flare.
Horn or Whistle
Do you have a good means of calling for help? A sounding device is another way to get the attention of near-by boaters or people on shore if you need help.
Is your radio working and do you know how to call the Coast Guard if the need should arise? How do you let them know your position? While you may think a cell phone is safe, there are many places on the water where cell service is spotty. Also, remember you’re on the water, and your cell phone isn’t waterproof. Accidents can happen, and having a radio backup is important.
For other safety ideas as well as the latest in boating safety gear and technology, click here.