As you and your family get out on the water this holiday weekend make sure to keep in mind boating safety.
Not only checking off your safety list but be aware of other boaters. Don’t let their inexperience put you at risk!
Be aware of causes of accidents and learn how to avoid them:
- Alcohol Use: DON’T drink and operate a boat or any on the water vessel. Not only is it dangerous but it’s illegal! Have a designated driver at all times. One drink is over the limit. Keep in mind that the motion of the water, the sun, heat and wind all heighten the effects of alcohol on your body and brain. So be smart and boat sober!
- Operator Inexperience: You may have been on the water for all your life but just like on the road there are always some who are just learning the rules. So be aware of other boaters and make sure you’re following the rules of the water. Make sure to look into your state’s requirements before hitting the water.
- Excessive Speed: While Michigan does not have a speed limit on the water, going fast is completely needless in most situations. Reports have shown that excessive speed is a main contributing factor in boating accident and fatalities. So keep your seed at a safe limit so you can maintain control over the vessel and your course at all times.
- Operator Distraction / Improper Lookout: You shouldn’t text and drive on the road so you shouldn’t do it on the water either! Operating a boat requires 100% of your attention so you can pick out an potential hazards.
- Navigation Rules Violation: Know The Rules!! Refresh your memory every season and make sure you and your crew have gone through a state-approved boating safety course.
And of course – LIFE JACKETS!
The only good life jacket is the one you are wearing, so don’t be without them. According to the United States Coast Guard 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics Report drowning was the number one cause of fatalities. Furthermore, of all reported drowning cases, 81 % of the victims were not wearing a life jacket!
Don’t forget to let someone on land know your float plan – having a flat plan can be a life saving document if you should ever get into trouble. Just a simple destination, how long you’ll be gone, your course to the destination and crew names and numbers with a family member is all you need.
So keep safe this weekend and as always have fun!