Friday, May 2, 2014

Boating Safety Tips!

image courtesy of khunaspix/
Summer is a great time to take to the water in lakes, oceans, and rivers; they're great places for boating, swimming, and play! But they are also places where people die. While that may sound dramatic, it is tragically true.  Countless people, including children, drown or nearly drown every summer in boating-related incidents; incidents that could have been prevented if basic boating and water safety guidelines had been observed.

One of our readers of Marine Engine Parts of Riverhead, NY, a leading parts supplier for pleasure boaters, is beginning a campaign to promote boat and water safety and asked that we share the boating and water safety tips below:

  • Practice vigilant parental supervision - Whenever your children are on or near water, be there with them.  If you cannot be in the water with them, keep them constantly in your line of sight and within easy reach.
  • Create a Float Plan Before Setting Out - In an emergency, every second counts.  Without a float plan you are counting on someone else (i.e., a friend, neighbor, or family member) to remember detailed information that rescue personnel need in order to find you; information that can make the difference between life and death.  Download a free form here.
  • Get a Vessel Safety Check - Even if you've been boating for years, a safety check of your vessel can only help ensure that it is safe from potentially dangerous defects and identify areas where deadly carbon monoxide may build-up.  You can schedule a free safety check with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary here!
  • Take a Boating Safety Course - According to the US Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center, only abut 40% of boat owners report having taken a boating safety course, and over 50% of accidents can be attributed to inexperience and operator error. Investing in a boating safety course can help save lives and help prevent property damage.
  • Use approved flotation devices - No matter how strong a swimmer you or your child may be, if traveling in a boat on the open water, a Coast Guard approved flotation device should be mandatory. Be sure your vessel has enough life jackets for every passenger and be certain that they are in good repair and sized appropriately for both adults and children.
  • Never Boat Under the Influence - The use of alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.  Never operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never accept a ride on a vessel whose operator is suspected to be under the influence.
  • Know Your Limits - If manually using a boat (i.e., kayaking, row-boating, or canoeing), don't venture into dangerous waters or venture too far out that you tire and cannot make it back to the launch spot.
  • Have your child take child swim lessons - Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest returns on investment there is.  Children gain familiarity with the water and learn basics such as treading water and floating.  Lessons can save lives.
  • Use caution around open water when swimming - Rivers, lakes, oceans and other open bodies of water can have dangerous currents or sudden drop-offs; swim only in areas with lifeguards where conditions have been determined to be reasonably safe.  Discourage diving in any body of water unless the area is designated as safe for diving. Swim only in posted areas and obey all posted signage.
  • Be prepared - In addition to always carrying first aid and emergency supplies on-board, learn (adult and infant and child) CPR and keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency.

Safe and happy travels.

- Destination Mom

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