May is here, and with the weather warming up across California, citizens will no doubt be taking their boats out on the ocean or various other bodies of water around the state. But piloting a boat requires a litany of precautions that must be followed at all times in order to ensure safety. To that end, boaters might consider some of the safety tips offered by GEICO in a new report.
Safety begins, as with just about any activity, before you even head out. If your skills are rusty, you might sign up for a course that teaches the ins and outs of boating safety. It should go without saying that you should also obtain the proper license before you take your vessel out on the water.
You should also monitor the weather before you leave. If meteorologists are calling for heavy rains, don’t ignore their warnings just because it’s sunny in the morning. Even when the skies are clear, continuously check up on the weather with an onboard radio. You ought also to explain to a loved one or trusted acquaintance where you’re going to be and when you’re coming back. That way, they can contact the proper authorities if you don’t return as scheduled.
Even when you’re boat isn’t on the water, you should be visiting it often to conduct routine maintenance. If it’s been a few months since you took your ship out, and you’re not confident in your own ability to ensure everything is in good shape, bring the boat in to a qualified mechanic.
Once you finally pull the boat away from shore, make sure you obey all rules and regulations of your area. You can start by having one life jacket on board for each individual riding with you, as required by the Coast Guard. But these aren’t just for decoration. Have everyone wear them while you’re out on the water.
Recognize the rights of other boaters and give them ample room to navigate. You can ensure safety further by limiting your speed to a reasonable level. When numerous boats are in the area, slow down, and never crank the boat up to a speed you’re not capable of handling.
Another activity that has no place on the water? Drinking and driving. The Coast Guard explains that most boating fatalities can be attributed to a navigator who was drunk while behind the wheel. Not only is drinking and boating illegal, but you put yourself and everyone else aboard in danger. Don’t engage in such behavior.
Finally, if your boat has an enclosed cabin, it’s imperative you invest in a carbon monoxide detector so that you won’t be threatened by the potentially hazardous fumes emitted by your boat.