When it comes to boating safety, knowledge is power. The more you know before hitting the water, the safer your outing will be. Using the following guidelines, you can greatly reduce your chances of experiencing a boating related emergency—be it capsizing, swamping, or man-overboard scenarios.
1. First and foremost, never forget the cardinal rule of boating: all passengers should have a readily accessible personal floatation device. Children under 13 must wear life jackets at all times (and adults may wish to consider doing the same!)
2. Use an emergency engine cutoff system in order to prevent dangerous situations. The simplest (and cheapest) way to achieve this is by attaching the boat keys to a lanyard, and then attaching the lanyard onto the PFD or belt of the operator. This ensures that should the operator fall overboard or otherwise stray from the wheel, the engine will be killed immediately.
3. Be smart about where you sit. Sitting on the gunwale, the bow, the seat backs, the motor cover, or pedestal seats while the boat is running is extremely dangerous as it greatly increases the chances of falling overboard.
4. Beware of overloading: know the weight capacity for your craft, and be careful not to exceed it; as this can cause instability and swamping. Additionally, it’s important to achieve a more or less even distribution of weight—don’t allow too many passengers (or too much heavy equipment) to bunch together on one side of the boat. Last but not least, keep a stable, low-center-of-gravity distribution by not allowing passengers to stand up or walk around while the boat is in motion: this creates a falling danger for them, and an instability danger for the entire vessel.
5. Know the weather forecast before heading out. Extreme weather can turn even the most routine of outings into a potential dangerous situation, so take care; be prepared; and when in doubt stay ashore until conditions improve.
Though caution and common sense can play an important role in decreasing boating accidents, it’s also important to remember that sometimes the unexpected does happen. That’s why Beacon Watch is committed to creating the next generation of sensible boating-safety equipment. Visit our website to learn more and to check out our exciting line of products.