Approximately 74 million Americans engage in recreational boating each year. National Safety Council. With Memorial Day Weekend approaching at the end of May and the summer season beginning in June, we can expect that many people will be spending time enjoying the warm temperatures, whether it is at the beach, pool, or out boating. And while there is no doubt that going out for a boat ride is an exciting time for family and friends, it is also a time to be cautious and careful as an accident could ruin the family fun.
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For those who plan to go out for a boat ride soon, there are certain safety precautions you should be taking regardless the level of experience you have with boating. If you are wondering what types of safety precautions you should be taking, her are a few for you to consider and hopefully implement.
- Always wear a life jacket and require anyone else traveling onboard with you to wear one as well. I know…I know. Nobody wants to wear a personal floatation device on the lake. How about we compromise and at least wear it while the boat is moving? Did you know that in 2014, 78% of boating deaths were due to drowning and 84% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket? National Safety Council. We all know that life jackets may not be the coolest accessories in the world, but neither are cargo shorts, and those still are being worn regularly, accompanied by white socks and crocs by America’s middle-aged father population. And remember the goal is to have fun AND return home safe.
- Be sure you have all essentials with you on the boat. Some vital items you will want to have include: additional lifejackets, airtight cooler, first aid kit, motion sickness medication, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen (seriously it is better than unintentionally becoming a Bob the Tomato look-a-like), towels, visual distress signals, and a fire extinguisher. See Allstate Insurance.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Because alcohol affects your judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, you drastically increase your chances of falling overboard or engaging in an accident with another boater when you consume alcohol. Regardless of what “the boys” may say, driving a high-powered boat while drinking is not a time for you to send it. The wonderous beverage known as Arnold Palmer was invented for a reason.