It doesn’t matter if you are planning a trip by yourself fishing or you have a bunch of friends on board and you plan to hit some coastal restaurants, taking the time to prepare in advance will ensure you come back safely at the end of the day.
1. Never under any circumstances mix alcohol and driving the boat. This is the same as getting behind the wheel of your car, do not put other peoples lives at risk.
2. Be sure that you have more than enough life jackets for you and every person on the boat, regardless of their age. One wrong turn or rogue wave and a capsized boat tosses everyone in the water. That life jacket is their only defense for surviving.
3. Be sure your cell phone is charged and kept in a dry location in the event of an emergency.
4. Invest in a good long-distance boat radio so you can reach someone if there is trouble miles out at sea.
5. Before you even leave the shores, you had better know where you are going to be sailing for the day. Tell someone who is staying back at shore exactly where and when you will return so they can reach out for help if you don’t return on time.
6. Take the time to fuel up before you leave the docks, and know exactly where several boat refueling stations are along the way. If you run dry miles out at sea and a fast-approaching storm hits, everyone on board is going to be in severe danger.
7. Invest in a good depth finder. Areas are constantly changing and what you thought was 10 feet deep could in actuality only be a few feet and you run the risk of hitting a sand bar.
8. Bring plenty of water on the trip. This is especially good for those who experience motion sickness and need to replenish on the trip.
9. Obey all the speed limits and when the signs say “NO Wake”, they are there for a good reason so slow the boat down.
10. Take the time to let a mechanic do a once-over on the boat before your trip so nothing that could have been avoided occurs.
These 10 safety tips are easy to incorporate into your boating routines, just make sure to commit them to memory before you head out.