Warm weather recreation enables sports enthusiasts to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, including fishing, skiing and other sports centered on boating. Speed, across the water, brings exhilaration, but it opens the door to accidents and injuries too. Summer boating contributes to accident claims related to inexperience and unpreparedness.
Learn the Ways of the Water
Certainly, boats share features with automobiles, and operating them is done in a similar manner. Both have motors, and while some boats are steered from the stern, others have steering wheels reminiscent of automobiles. And even some of the safety tenets – speed kills, and so on, are shared between cars and boats.
Just because they bear similarities, however, does not make the two vessels equivalent. And in no way does proficiency operating an automobile automatically assume the same level of abilities, when it comes to boating. Proper water safety, and minimizing accidents, relies on fundamental understanding of essential boating skills and safety measures.
Boating instruction supports proper boat licensing, and imparts valuable boat safety protocols, and statutory boating requirements. Handbooks and courses are available online, and hands-on learning is conducted at lakes and marinas, outfitted with boats for live training.
Stay out of Harm’s Way
Participating in water activities is safe, provided it is done within the tolerances of the vessels and conditions at hand. Excessive speed contributes to accidents on land, and the same remains true over open water. Not all boats are designed for high-speed handling, especially in the hands of amateur enthusiasts lacking experience with high-speed boating. Single boat accidents usually involve operator error, typically drivers asking their boats to perform beyond their means.
Pulling skiers and inner tube riders amplifies the level of danger, creating the potential for personal injury. Persons are especially at risk on crowded waterways, where lots of people are competing to use limited water space. When conditions are crowded or unsafe, the first step toward accident avoidance is to prevent problems from arising, at all. Steer clear of lakes and rivers that are overcrowded, utilizing them during off-times instead.
Proper safety gear, including helmets for high-speed water skiers, and floatation devices, should be employed at all times when vessels are waterborne. Statutory recommendations should be followed, concerning the numbers and construction materials of available floats. Wearable and at-the-ready versions are required for optimal assurance of floatation readiness.
Familiarity Fosters Waterway Safety
Water features vary significantly across lakes and other waterways, so the only way to be fully protected is to obtain detailed information about the water you traverse. Underwater structures and jutting stone feature are extremely menacing to boat hulls, which take on water when damaged.
Shallow areas damage boat props, and cause accidents related to clearance. Depth-finders return real-time assessment of water conditions, alerting boaters before issues arise. If you are not familiar with the expected water levels where you are, rely instead on depth finder readings and shoreline characteristics telling of water levels.
Problematic marine areas are well-illustrated with signs, buoys, and other safety measures introduced to keep boaters safe. Visual alerts support boating safety when posted speeds and other instructions are followed.
Lights are used to illuminate narrow marine passages, and to direct boaters away from hazardous shorelines. And just as visibility is enhanced ten-fold when structures are well-lit, it is essential for every boat to be outfitted with the requisite numbers of individual lights. Batteries and spare bulbs should be stowed before departure, so that boats are never left in the dark during periods of low visibility. Strict adherence to boat safety protocols limits accident claims and damage to personal property.