On Boating Safety, Part 2 of 2

People in the water playing with a DalmatianYesterday we discussed some simple yet important tips to keep your family safe while you’re out on the water. These included essential things like life jacket options and BUIs. Today, we are going to look at some more things you can do to ensure the best possible experience and everyone’s safety should an accident occur.

1. Understand your vessel – When driving a new car, most people first want to familiarize themselves with the vehicle and know where everything is, so that if they have to react quickly they’ll be able to do so. Same thing applies to your boat. Sure, you may not be driving at high speeds on the interstate, but you are in an element that is less familiar with and much more powerful: the water.

While it may not be the most thought-provoking reading material in the world, your Owner’s Manual will provide a wealth of information that may prove useful – if not life saving. For instance, you want to know:

- Your boat’s max carrying and load capacity
- max speed and range at various speeds
- maximum draft
- wind and sea limitations

Other things which are useful to know are your vessel’s foot length, its construction, layout, equipment and locations, its systems, and general boat nomenclature. Most of this information will be in your Owner’s Manual, but if it isn’t, you can always contact your marine dealer or the manufacturer to get it.

It is also a good idea to become very familiar with navigation in general- reading and using nautical charts, GPSs, and compasses, which bring us to our next tip…

2. Take a boating class – Statistics show that operator errors account for 70% of boating accidents.  According to the 2010 Recreational Boating Statistics, “Only nine percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.”  Do your part in contributing to everyone’s safety by taking one of these informative classes.

Here at Intermarine in Fort Lauderdale we recommend SeaSchool.com, but a quick search in google or your favorite search engine will give you a host of options and reviews.

3. Get a vessel safety check – Get a professional opinion and give your boat a “clean bill of health” by having it checked out to make sure it meets all the federal requirements. Your marine dealer can point you in the right direction. You can also visit the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to set up an inspection.

And there you have it, some simple yet important things you can do to help ensure your loved ones’ safety when you’re out boating. While it may take a few minutes of your time, none of it is particularly taxing and most importantly, it can save lives.

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