Essential Safety Tips for Boaters This Summer

Essential Safety Tips for Boaters This Summer

With summer in full swing, it’s time to hit the open waters and enjoy one of the most popular outdoor activities – boating. Whether you’re planning a fishing trip with your buddies, wakeboarding with the family, or a relaxing cruise, it’s important to prioritize safety. 

The U.S.Coast Guard reported there were 636 boating fatalities nationwide in 2022. There were 2,222 non-fatal injuries and approximately $63 million in property damage.

You can stay safe and have a fun time on the water by being prepared and following some basic safety practices. Check out these essential safety tips for boaters to ensure you’re well-prepared for any situation that may arise on the water.

Summer Safety Tips for Boaters

Wear a Life Jacket

Life jackets are the most crucial safety equipment for any boating trip, it’s essential to wear one when boating, whether on a motorized or non-motorized vessel. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 81% of boating deaths in 2021 were drownings, and 83% of those victims were not wearing life jackets.

Even good swimmers need life jackets. Falling off a boat can cause people to become confused, injured, or unconscious. A life jacket can help victims keep their heads above water so they can breathe and be rescued more quickly. Whenever a child is on a boat, he or she should wear a life jacket.

Choose the right life jacket for the activities you will plan to do. Double-check that the life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved and fit correctly:

  • Make sure the jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight.
  • Make sure the jacket is properly fastened.
  • Hold your arms straight up over your head, ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up; make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face.

Familiarize Yourself with Boating Regulations

Before sailing or motoring out of the harbor, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the local boating regulations and laws. Every state has specific rules and guidelines that boaters must adhere to, including speed limits, navigation rules, and designated areas. Understanding and following these regulations will not only keep you safe but also help preserve the natural beauty of the waterways.

Boats in Bath Creek Marina Aerial View

Don’t Boat Under the Influence

Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. Impaired judgement, reduced reaction time, and decreased coordination can lead to accidents with severe consequences. Always designate a sober skipper who will operate the boat responsibly, ensuring the safety of all passengers.

Conduct a Pre-Departure Check

To ensure your boat is in good working condition, perform a thorough pre-departure check. Check the hull, engine, navigation lights, fuel, and other essential equipment. Ensure that life jackets, fire extinguishers, distress signals, and first aid kits are readily accessible on board. 

Additionally, check the weather forecast and ensure you have proper safety gear for the predicted conditions. Weather can change fast so be aware of what the weather is doing. If you notice storm clouds, a sudden temperature drop or an increase in wind speed, err on the side of caution and get off the water. 

Practice Safe Navigation

Boating safety includes following proper navigation practices. Maintain a safe speed, especially in congested areas, and always be aware of other boats, swimmers, or objects in the water. Keep a lookout for buoys, markers, and navigational aids to ensure you’re on the correct course. Avoid distractions such as cell phones or excessive alcohol consumption while operating the boat.

If you are looking for a new boating destination, Bath is a great choice. Its close proximity to the Pamlico Sound and Pamlico River make it a popular destination for boaters and sailors. The Inn on Bath Creek is the perfect choice of accommodations if you are not sleeping onboard. The State Dock,Harding’s Landing, is conveniently located directly across the street from the Inn. There is no docking fee to use Harding’s Landing. The Bath Harbor Marina is a short walk down the road from the Inn. Its location is naturally protected, close to the ICW, and right across the street from a bar/restaurant. 


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