One of the busiest boating holidays will be here before we know it - 4th of July. There's no better time to take a boat out on the water than Independence Day. Summer is in full swing so the weather is beautiful and most people are off work and school so the whole family can enjoy a day on the water. It's the perfect way to cap off your long weekend.
No matter how much experience you have, it's always a good idea to review boating safety rules before you go out boating. Here are some basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe:
Be Weather-Wise Always check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.
Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
Develop a Float Plan Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include
WHO you're with, including name(s) and phone number(s) of all passengers
WHAT you're boating on - boat type and registration information
WHEN how long you're going to be gone
WHERE you're going / trip itinerary
HOW to get in touch with you - types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
Make Proper Use of Lifejackets Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren't part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure. Children under 12 are REQUIRED to wear them at all times. Wear it!
Avoid Alcohol Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
Learn to Swim If you're going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim.
Leave your Pooch at Home! More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. Make sure they have their license tags on their collars, just in case. And leave them safe at home.
Get a Free USCG Vessel Safety Check Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. They will provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations.
Use Common Sense One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.
If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it's important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.
Take a Boating Safety Course - which is REQUIRED in NJ. Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course.
For more information and for Boating Safety classes that are NJ State Police Approved and NASBLA Certified, go to www.BoatSafeUS.com. Our Instructors will provide you with a fun-filled and educational look at Boat Safety in New Jersey. All of our instructors at Boat Safe US, LLC are certified and approved to instruct by the NJ State Police Marine Division and our course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).