Here at Tidal Marine, we know that there is nothing quite as relaxing as being out on the water. After all, we’ve been in the business of making our waterways safer since 1972. We would like to think that we’ve had a small hand in making international waterways more enjoyable for families around the world. And with that great privilege comes the responsibility of helping inform families everywhere how to enjoy the ocean a little more safely!
Whether you are heading into the open ocean for some challenging deep-sea fishing or staying within sight of land, boating can be a wonderful and deeply satisfying experience.
No matter what kind of boat you own or how often you use it, boating safety is something you should take very seriously. In a matter of minutes the tranquility of the water can give way to rolling storms and choppy seas. Knowing what to do when the weather turns bad is the best way to keep your family, friends, and yourself safe and sound.
Here are a few boating tips for the whole family.
- Invest in swimming lessons for family members who will be using your boat. No one expects the boat to go down or start taking on water, but being a strong swimmer could save your loved one’s life in an emergency.
- Make sure you have plenty of life vests and floatation devices on your boat also called personal flotation devices (or PFD’s), and that everyone knows where they are stored and how to use them. Take a few minutes for a safety drill before heading out and make sure everyone knows how to activate their life vests, lifeboats and other essential safety equipment.
- Have your boat inspected on a regular basis. Many coast guards or emergency rescue volunteers offer this service for free. Even if the area where you live does not require a safety inspection, it is important to schedule your own. A regular inspection could uncover safety problems you may have missed otherwise.
- Leave the alcohol on the shore. Drinking and boating do not mix, and operating a watercraft while under the influence is against the law. Feel free to enjoy your favourite adult beverages from the safety of dry land, but leave the wine, beer and cocktails behind before heading out on the water.
- Use a weather radio to monitor current conditions and keep up to date with storm warnings. Storms are nothing to fool around with on the water, so be aware of changing conditions and how they will impact your planned trajectory. If you don’t have a weather radio, there are many apps available for both Apple and Android devices that do just that.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on board and make sure it is properly charged. Fire suppression is very important for boaters, and it is important to have a working fire extinguisher on board at all times. In many areas around the world, this is the law, and the larger your vessel, the more fire extinguishers you’ll need. Be sure to check local laws.
- Watch out for smaller watercraft. Whether you own a huge yacht or a tiny sailboat, there will always be smaller craft on the water. Keep a close eye out for paddle boarders, surfers and operators of smaller boats.
- Know and abide by the rules of the water, and be aware that not everyone will follow them. Watch out for clueless boaters who are not as well prepared or courteous as you are, and always give them a wide berth. Notify the authorities if you see anyone operating their watercraft in an unsafe manner.
Boating should be fun and relaxing, not dangerous and risky. Following the safety tips listed above can help you stay safe on the water and enjoy your favourite past time for many years to come.