Throughout the tourist season and into the hotter summer months, it’s important for you to keep in mind that not all people on the water may have the same experience boating as you. Knowing boating laws and regulations may help you stay out of harm’s way, so you can enjoy your recreational activities without being at risk.
The National Safe Boating Council reports that there are over 11 million recreational vessels in the United States. Unfortunately, though they are common, these vehicles are involved in crashes due to accidents caused by driver error, poor weather conditions and other issues.
How can you stay safer during a busy boating season?
To keep yourself safer while boating during the tourist seasons or when there are many vessels on the water:
- Always wear your life jacket, which can help keep you afloat if you go overboard
- Make sure your lighting is working correctly, especially if you’re traveling in the evening, night or at dawn
- Take a refresher course through the National Association of Boating Law Administrators
- Learn your state’s boating laws
- Perform annual maintenance
- Report any accidents that do occur
While you’re driving around other vessels, remember that it’s appropriate for you to slow down. If the other vessel’s driver isn’t paying attention or seems like they’re going to collide with you if they stay their course, you may want to adjust your course even though that’s not usually the right thing to do.
It’s more difficult to maneuver on the water in some cases, but monitoring what’s going on around you may help you catch the eye of another boater making an error or help you maneuver away from trouble before a crash happens.
Be prepared for crashes
Though they are not extremely common, you should be prepared for crashes. File a float plan in advance, so others know where you will be and who you’ll be with.
Carry a cell phone or radio on your boat, so you can call for help from the Coast Guard or the marina in the case of a collision. It’s helpful if you can keep track of your location on the water, too, so you can easily report where you.
Taking these steps may help you get out of the water quicker in an emergency.