A Boat Out on the Open Water.

Boat Safety Tips to Remember This Summer

It’s summer and that means it’s time to get out on the water! Boating is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors, whether you like to fish, waterski, chase the wind, or just drift along and relax. The last thing you want is to have a boating accident or problem arise while you’re offshore. Here are five safety tips to keep in mind when you’re boating this summer.

1. Always Wear a Life Jacket

While most states only require you to have life jackets that are accessible on your boat, the fact is that most boating accidents, like car accidents, involve a sudden and unexpected impact, meaning you may not have time to go looking for your life vest. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) estimates that life jackets could have saved 80% of boating fatality victims, so be smart. Make sure you have USCG-approved life jackets for everyone on your boat, that they are fitted properly, and that everyone wears one.

2. Don’t Drink and Boat

Some people who would never think of drinking while driving a car seem to think it’s ok to drink while operating a boat. It isn’t. The USCG estimates that one third of all boating deaths are caused by alcohol. Additionally, you should know that boating under the influence (BUI) is not only illegal in all 50 states but also can be considered a federal crime. 

3. Plan Ahead

Be sure you know the boating laws in your state before you hit the water. And even if you aren’t required to take a boater safety course in your state, you should still consider taking one (they are often free!). Additionally, you can have the USCG perform a free Vessel Safety Check on your boat to make sure your boat is seaworthy. You can also do an online virtual safety check yourself. Finally, when you do go out on the water, be sure to send someone who’s staying on land an email of your itinerary, where you are headed, when you plan to be back, and who’s onboard.  That way, if you don’t return on time, the Coast Guard will know where to look for you.

4. Watch for Bad Weather

Check the weather and radar before you get out on the water, and remember that forecasts are not always 100% accurate. Even if it’s sunny and calm when you leave, the weather can change in an instant. If you notice storm clouds rolling in, choppy water, increased winds, or hear thunder, it’s time to go in.

5. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Make sure before you pull away from the dock that you have a full tank of gas, all the life jackets you need, a fire extinguisher, extra batteries, and a floating pouch that includes a cell phone, maps, flares, and a first aid kit. Be sure that all your boat lights are functional. Remember to be very careful of your propellers and to always turn off the motor and propellers if someone falls overboard or is in the water near you. 

Check out J-Tech

If you love boats, motors, and the salt life, it’s time to start training for an exciting career in the rapidly growing marine industry. J-Tech Institute offers a Marine and RV Technician Repair Training Program that will provide you with the hands-on training you need to start a rewarding career. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our admissions department.

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