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Boat Safety Tips - too soon?

If you own a boat, at this point you're itching to get out on that open water. Or maybe you're the dude sitting on the shore looking at the boats wishing you had one. Regardless if you're thinking of buying one or own one, there are some basic boating safety tips you should know. What about the benefits of boating? Besides the hubby being gone all weekend so you can have girls weekend, which basically means shopping and wine drinking. Don't get me wrong, CALL ME when that takes place. I'm all in. But there are actual physical and mental benefits to boating. Let's chat about both safety and benefits.

The benefits of boating. A big one - stress reduction. Unless you're like me and fishing just adds to my stress because I can't catch anything... but for normal people who fish don't hate, I can see that. Or creating family memories - nothing like thinking back to being in the boat with Grandpa as he out fishes you.

Enjoying nature, staying active, catching a meal... all great benefits to fishing, right? What happens when all that is taken away because simple boating safety is forgotten? Some leading contributors to boating crashes include things such as operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness or speeding. A wonderful afternoon of creating family memories can be swept away in an instant. No matter your style of boat - fishing, kayak, canoe... here are some boating safety tips you should keep in mind.

  1. Taking a boating safety course. If you are new to boating (yes, that's you dude sitting on the shore) to a child wanting to learn you should consider enrolling in a boating safety course. In some states, there are even laws about drivers, age and requiring a safety course. Some of the courses cover boat handling, identifying weather patterns and navigation skills.

  2. Pay attention the weather. Now if you were to ask a certain cousin of mine, he might tell you that speeding along hitting those huge waves is actually fun... we only let him out on weekend passes, so don't worry. Being aware of the weather, especially out on the water is a must. Heavy Rain, lightening and high winds could become catastrophic in an instant. Make sure you check the weather before you head out on the water.

  3. Life jackets save lives! Just like your seatbelt in your car, it is not only a safety measure, but it's also a law... you need to have enough life jackets on your boat for the number of people on the boat. And always make sure children wear their life jackets at all times in the boat. Maybe the kiddos saw a fish swim past and reached down to "pet it", and fell in. A life jacket could be the difference between life and death. Or maybe that 1 cousin who loves those big waves hits one at the wrong angle and over you go, hitting your head on the way out... now your unconscious and in the water. No life jacket, no float. Wear your life jackets!

  4. Keep your boat afloat. I know, I know.. you want to pile the people in your boat. The more the merrier, right? However, carrying too many passenger or equipment could throw your boat out of balance.

  5. You're the captain of the ship. You're the boss. You rule that vessel. Along with that though comes responsibility. And you're number one responsibility is to keep not only you and your passengers safe, but also those sharing the waters around you. Setting the expectations up front such as making sure they know where life jackets are, fire extinguishers and knowing the rules can help ensure a safe and fun experience for all.

  6. Know your state laws and regulations From experience, I can tell you that should you get pulled over by the DNR... they will tell you that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. Who knew? Make sure you know and understand your local laws. They are in place to keep you, your passengers and those using the water around you safe. Without these rules and regulations, boating can because dangerous real quick.

  7. Last, but not least... Be Respectful This goes beyond your passengers and fellow boaters, this includes your environment. Don't throw trash into the water or leave it on shore. Protect the environment along with all of those around you. It also means respect your vessel. Don't push it past it's made for limits.

Following these and other boating tips could be the difference between a great time and a disaster. Do you have more tips or tricks? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below for others to see.

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