Tips to Help You "Float Your Boat" Safely

Friday, July 15 at 10:45 AM
Category: Personal Finance

It's summer. The time when rivers, lakes, and oceans are packed with kayakers, windsurfers, paddle boarders, and boaters looking for fun, exercise, and relaxation. But while boating can be a refreshing and fun activity, it can also be dangerous. In fact, each year, hundreds of people are killed in senseless and preventable boating accidents.

An easy way to prevent the chance of a boating accident is to follow these smart boating safety tips:

  • Never drink alcohol or take recreational drugs before boating. It goes without saying that you should never operate any vehicle while under the influence. With exposure to sun and wind, the effects of alcohol and prescription drugs are often increased. If you take prescription drugs, consult your medical professional on any side-effects that may occur while on the water. 
  • Wear your life jackets. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that approximately 90 percent of drowning victims did not wear life jackets or floatation devices. Whether you're paddling on a kayak or cruising along on a pontoon boat, always ensure you have enough flotation devices for you and all passengers. 
  • Get familiar with the water before you set sail. Before you set out on a new path, take the time to familiarize yourself with the area. You should also be aware of the temperature of the water, as cold water could cause cardiac arrest and hypothermia.
  • Watch the weather. With the internet or your smartphone, you can get detailed weather reports wherever you plan to go. Before you set out on a boating or canoeing excursion, study the weather to ensure there are no strong winds or lightning storms in the forecast.
  • File a float plan. If you plan to go out on the water, be sure to share your plans by telling someone where and when you are going, when you may return and who will be accompanying you.
  • Be a rule follower. Rules and instructions were meant to be followed. Obey all instructions in the water and on your watercraft. When the boat is in motion, make sure your passengers are safely seated and not fooling around or engaging in activities that could cause the boat to rock or tip over. When the boat is not in motion, make sure your passengers do not engage in activities that could cause the watecraft to rock or tip over.
  • Take a boating course. Whether you're an experienced boater or a beginner, it's important to stay educated about changing safety information.

For more information on safe boating practices from the U.S. Coast Guard, visit http://www.uscgboating.org*.

Happy, safe boating!

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution. 

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