Boating Safely during Labor Day weekend

It’s Labor Day weekend, and many people take to the water with their boats, family, and friends for a day spent on our favorite pasttime: boating.

In order to ensure that everyone remains safe, here are some important boating safety tips taken directly from the United States Coast Guard.

  1. First and foremost:  BOAT SOBER!!! Remember that a boat is a very large moving vehicle without brakes. It is imperative that the person operating the boat has all their senses about them. Hire a captain if you absolutely must- the expense is well worth your life and that of those around you.
  2. Wear your life life jackets. “Having a life jacket onboard and not wearing it is like having a seat belt in a car and not having it on.” According to Coast Guard Lt. Mike Cortese, over 80 percent of boating deaths happen to people not wearing life jackets. Don’t wait for something to happen, because by then, it will be too late.
  3. Make a float plan. Before going out on your boat, write down what kind of vessel you’ll be on, who will be on it, and where will it be going. Then, leave this plan with a friend or family member. This way, if you were to go missing, authorities will have accurate information to start their search. Go to the USCG website and download the fillable form .
  4. Use an EPIRB. This piece of equipment can help the Coast Guard locate your vessel via satellite signals if you need to be rescued. We recently featured an article by Captain Tony on the subject of marine emergency signaling devices.
  5. No Speeding!! Once again, remember that your boat doesn’t have any brakes, and neither do the other boats around you. Imagine how much harder it is to stop and maneuver on the water than on dry land if you are speeding where you are not supposed to!
  6. Perform boat and equipment safety checks. There is a series of things that need to be on board and in good working condition prior to departure. Make sure you look over everything to ensure you are prepared. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has a virtual boat safety checklist on their website, and you can even make an appointment for them to check things out for you.
  7. Useful apps. The Coast Guard has an app that offers everything from reporting if a boat is in distress to how to create a float plan. Get it, and use it.

Carelessness can cause a beautiful day on the water to turn disastrous. It is imperative that you and your guests take precautions to be safe on the water. Ignoring these basic precautions just isn’t worth the risk!

For more information on boating safety visit www.uscgboating.org.

This article was based on information published by the Miami Herald.
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