Boating is fun for everyone. There are many activities that you can do while boating. People ski, go tubing, parasailing, fishing, and just enjoying a ride. There are things that you should consider to keep you and your passengers as well as fellow boaters safe while on the water.
Do not drink and drive! A boat operator that has blood alcohol content over 0.10 is ten times more prone to die in a boating accident than one with zero blood alcohol. Other factors such as the sun, rocking of the boat, and noise affect the body more when drinking alcohol. Operating a boat in any U.S. water while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all states, and it is a violation of Federal boating laws.
About 70% of all recreational boating accidents are due to the operator having no experience or knowledge about operating a boat, or the laws that should be followed. Factors such as not paying attention, being careless or reckless, speeding, and not watching for hazard warnings are the major causes. There are boater safety courses that you can take, and they are inexpensive and do not take a long time to do. This is a great way for you to learn boat safety, the rules of the water, and boating regulations.
Keeping your boat in good shape mechanically is also an important safety factor. You should keep up on motor maintenance. Make sure that the outside of the boat has no areas of wear such as the rails, gates, and other parts of the boat. Always check the boat if you hit something in the water, as that may be the beginning of a later problem. Check for slick spots on the deck where someone could slip and fall. If your boat is a sail boat make sure that the ropes and rigs are in good shape and that the sails are without rips.
You should have a radio on your boat for emergencies, and also a weather band to warn of impending bad weather. A cell phone would be handy to have as well. If you will be out boating, let someone know where you are heading so if you happen to get lost, people will have an idea where to look for you. A GPS tracking device is also something that you might consider having on your boat as this can also help you to be found.
A first aid kit is something that you should always have at the ready, for small things or big emergencies. A flashlight should be on board, as well as common tools for
any small engine problems that you may run into. A boat should always have a comprehensive first aid kit on board and flares.
You should also have sun protection when you are out on the water. Being on the water will concentrate the sun on you and can cause a severe sunburn. Fluids should also be available for dehydration. Food should be packed just in case you have a need for it. Something for motion sickness would also be good to have on hand.
Drive within the set limits, do not race on the water as you may not see another boat if it is coming at you from another direction. If you are doing any activities like skiing, tubing, or parasailing, be sure you are in an area that is marked for that, and have the person wear bright colors and a life jacket for safety.
Know the boating laws and rules for the state you are boating in. Watch out for other boaters who may not be following the safety rules. Most of all have fun and enjoy the water.