Boating is an appealing leisure activity to many, especially during the summer months. Some people take to the water to catch fish. Others simply enjoy being in the open air and observing aquatic life. Whatever your reasons for setting sail, there are some key safety guidelines you should keep in mind before departure. Even the most experienced boaters can run into trouble at sea, but the risk of accidents can be diminished by taking precautions before setting sail and while at sea.
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Check weather conditions in your area before departure. Radio forecasts and television broadcasts are usually reliable sources of information. You should also use your own observational skills to assess any trouble ahead. Be aware of dark clouds, severe winds or sudden shifts of temperature, as these might indicate problems for your vessel.
Make sure there are at least two people on board who can safely navigate a boat. If the boat's main driver is injured or disabled, the backup driver can ensure the boat gets back to shore safely.
Let someone else know the route you plan to take and how long you expect to be on water. You can tell staff at the marina you intend to sail from or a family member or friend who lives nearby. Your route plan should cover essential information such as number of passengers, type of boat and registration and any signalling equipment on the boat.
Other Vessels and Buoys
Operate at a safe speed, especially in areas with a lot of traffic. Keep your focus on the water at all times and stay well clear or larger vessels, that might not be able to halt or turn away quickly.
You should also pay attention to buoys in the water, as these will ensure you safely navigate and avoid hazards. As stated on the California State Parks website, you should not tie your boat to a buoy or use them as racing posts.
Lifejackets and Alcohol
Ensure all passengers on board the boat are wearing a life jacket before departure. Sudden shifts in weather conditions or a collision might result in passengers being thrown overboard.
According to the Discover Boating website, the likelihood of a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Avoiding drinking will help you keep your concentration when navigating and help you recall safety rules.
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