Boating season is underway, and if you're considering heading out to your slip to take your vessel for a ride, you'll want to make sure to brush up on boating safety. This will make it much less likely that you'll experience any accidents or injuries while you're on the water, and you can focus more on enjoying your trip rather than worrying about whether you'll hit a snag.
Here are a few tips for ensuring that your voyage goes off smoothly:
- Carry backup marine equipment: As noted by Boating Magazine, make sure you have backup gear on board that you can use in the event that your primary electronic instruments are damaged. We highly recommend having an extra marine radio on board as well as a handheld GPS system that can be used to send distress signals and transmit where you are. It's very easy to lose gear overboard and suffer malfunctions.
- Check weather forecasts: Before you hoist your anchor or cast off, make sure that you take a look at the weather forecast to make sure you're not heading into a storm. In addition, you should check surf reports to make sure that you won't encounter any massive waves, particularly if you're heading more than a mile or so away from shore.
- Equip your boat with a horn: No sailor or boater should leave the dock without a horn or siren that can be used to grab the attention of others on the water. These marine instruments are a necessity, particularly if you're going to be boating in a crowded area such as the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of California.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor on your boat: Engines produce quite a bit of carbon monoxide, which is odorless and can turn deadly within a matter of minutes. It's particularly important to have a detector on the inside of your vessel that can let you know if gasses are collecting.
- Keep an eye on the water surface: Especially when you're close to shore, you should watch for lapping waves and other signs that there are objects just under the water's surface.
- Leave a float plan with the Coast Guard, friend or family member: Before you head out, make sure that you let someone know where you'll be going and when you plan to be back. That way, if you don't return on schedule and can't be reached by phone or radio, searchers will know where to start looking for your boat if you become stranded.
- Never drink while piloting your boat: Drinking while piloting a boat can be just as dangerous as when you're behind the wheel of a car. Not only does it increase the risk of striking underwater objects and other boats, it puts you at risk if you're in an accident and need to make sound decisions in terms of how to help your crew and avoid injury or drowning.
- Remember that boats don't have brakes: When you're approaching your slip, always put the motor in neutral well before you reach the dock. Otherwise you could suffer a major collision that could result in injuries or worse.
If you find that you need any marine and boat accessories to make your trips safer, you should check out ePal today. Our gear selection is the best you'll find on the internet, and by shopping with us you could save hundreds of dollars over list prices. For more information, visit our online store today!