Boating Safety Guide

Being out on the water and participating in water activities can be an enjoyable experience, but it comes with risks if safety measures are not prioritized. We've recently made a comprehensive boating safety guide. This new resource includes an equipment checklist, guidelines for navigating bad weather conditions, tips for kids and pets, and a wealth of other essential information to ensure a safe boating experience (Reference: Meirowitz & Wasserberg Law Firm)

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Stay sober – Make sure anyone who will be operating the boat avoids consuming alcohol or using drugs. Encourage occupants to avoid excessive alcohol consumption as well.
Be aware of your surroundings – Stay alert to your surroundings, including other boats, buoys, and obstacles. Avoid distractions while operating the boat, and keep a 360-degree awareness at all times.
Swim safely – Make sure you and your guests only swim in designated areas and make sure the engine is turned off to prevent accidents.
Stay hydrated – Bring an ample water supply to stay hydrated, especially on hot days, to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Secure items onboard – Secure all loose items to prevent injuries and damage during sudden maneuvers.
Load cargo evenly – Distribute the weight of cargo evenly throughout the boat to maintain stability and prevent capsizing.
Take a boating safety course – Educated boaters are safer boaters. A boating safety course can equip you with the knowledge you need to avoid causing an accident or to respond appropriately if one occurs.
Know the speed zones – Familiarize yourself with designated speed zones in the area where you’re boating and adhere to posted speed limits.
KIDS - Ensure swimming skills – Make sure that all kids on board know how to swim. If they aren’t strong swimmers, consider enrolling them in swimming lessons before your outing.
KIDS - Educate kids about boating safety – Before the trip, teach children about the basics of boating safety, including the proper use of life jackets and the importance of following the captain’s instructions.
KIDS - Establish boat rules – Set well-defined rules for behavior on the boat. Clear rules ensure that children know what’s expected of them for a safe journey.
KIDS - Share emergency protocol – Go over emergency procedures, including how to use communication devices, the location of safety equipment, and the steps to take in case of an emergency. Practice these procedures with the kids.
PETS - Use pet life jackets – Just like humans, pets should wear properly fitted life jackets. Make sure to choose a canine life jacket that’s appropriate for your pet’s size and weight.
PETS - Secure pet-friendly areas – Identify and designate safe areas on the boat where your pet can move around without the risk of falling overboard.
PETS - Bring a fresh water supply – Bring ample fresh water for your pet to stay hydrated. Don’t encourage your pet to drink water from the sea or lake.
PETS - Consider the temperature – Be mindful of the heat. Dogs, in particular, can overheat quickly. Provide cooling options on hot, sunny days, and avoid exposing them to excessive temperatures.
GEAR - Life jackets – Each person on board should have a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
GEAR - Throwable flotation devices – Keep easily accessible throwable devices, such as lifebuoys or rings, for emergencies.
GEAR - Sound signaling devices – Have a whistle, horn, or bell to signal your presence, especially in low visibility conditions.
GEAR - Visual signaling devices – Carry visual distress signals, like pyrotechnic devices, flares, or flags, for emergency signaling.
GEAR - Cell phone and VHF radio – Bring a fully charged cell phone in a waterproof case as a backup communication device. It’s also a good idea to keep a VHF marine radio for reliable communication on the water.
GEAR - Heavy-duty flashlight – Keep a heavy-duty flashlight with spare batteries for nighttime boating or emergencies.
GEAR - Fire extinguishers – Depending on the size of your boat, you’ll need at least one B-1 type fire extinguisher onboard.
GEAR - First aid kit – Maintain a well-stocked first aid kit to address minor injuries or medical emergencies, including cuts, scrapes, and seasickness.
GEAR - Bailing device – Have a bilge pump or manual bailing device, such as a bucket, to control water that enters the boat.
GEAR - Anchor with a line – Carry a suitable anchor and enough anchor line to keep your boat in place while waiting for help to arrive in an emergency.