Boat safety tips and why you should get certified
Taking an approved safety course on Marinemax boats and ships can generate a discount on your insurance.
There are many good reasons to be a trained boat operator. The main reason: safety. According to the Coast Guard, 74% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boat safety instruction.
However, the good news is that saving lives and reducing injuries can be as easy as taking a safety course and receiving a boater’s safety certificate. That way, you become familiar with the fundamentals of operation and etiquette, as well as state and federal rules for waterways.
Below are some tips to help keep you safer on the water.
- Life Jackets
All boats should have enough life jackets accessible to each child and adult on board. According to the Coast Guard, approximately 84% of deaths from boating accidents could have been avoided if life jackets had been worn.
Life jackets must fit snugly and prevent water from rising above the chin or ears. Users must wear the proper size and children should not wear adult-size vests. And life jackets should be inspected annually for buoyancy and overall maintenance.
- Boating Accidents
You might think that the main causes of boating accidents are speeding and alcohol intake. But you would be wrong. The three main causes are:
- lack of attention from the operator,
- not paying adequate attention and
- the inexperience of the operator.
The main cause of deaths while sailing is related to alcohol consumption. So, while obeying the speed limit and not driving under the influence of intoxicating substances are important recommendations, paying attention and being aware of other boats and people is important to help prevent Marinemax boats accidents.
- Rules on the water
Just like when you drive a car there are rules of the road, driving a boat has its own rules. Here are some examples.
- When two motorized boats want to cross over in the water, the «vessel that gives way» (the boat that has the other boat on its starboard side, i.e., on the right) must slow down and/or cross behind the vessel that was «given way».
- When passing another vessel (coming from behind and ahead), the yielded vessel may pass on either side of the yielded vessel.
- Riders should always operate their craft at a controlled and safe speed for the situation.
- Avoid sailing too close to other boats.
- Do not operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and invisible poison. It can accumulate both inside and outside the boat. Gases can accumulate in enclosed spaces from other boats emitting them nearby, while they are stationary or at low speed, or from an air current.
Some ways to prevent poisoning include knowing where CO can accumulate in your boat, where the exhaust outlets are, and installing CO alarms inside your boat.
- First Aid Kits
It is always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand. And when you’re out on a boat it can be even more important, since you may not have quick and easy access to medical assistance if someone is injured while sailing. You’ll want to take that into consideration:
- How many people are on board. Make sure you have enough supplies for that number.
- How far away you will be while sailing. How far you are from proper medical care can affect the amount and types of supplies you keep.
Supplies for the first aid kit should include
- First aid creams and antiseptics,
- many bandages and in multiple sizes,
- gauze and adhesive tape,
- aspirins and
- cold compresses.
- Tool kits and other essential items
Having a tool kit with the right items can help you avoid getting stuck in the middle of the water. And there are other must-have items you should consider having on your boat. Here’s a list of some items you might want to include on your Marinemax boats.
- Replacement parts for your boat, including light bulbs and fuel filters
- Basic tools stored in a tool kit – screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer and perhaps a box of several pins
- A fire extinguisher
- Oars and shovels
- A VHF radio to call for help
- A flashlight