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8 Tips to Avoid Boating Accidents

How to Avoid Accidents While Boating

No matter how much you love boating, there’s no getting around that it’s an inherently dangerous activity. But when you follow the rules and stay aware of your surroundings, you can minimize your risk of being involved in a boating accident. Here are some easy ways to do just that:

Take a Boating Safety Class

You can take a boating safety class in many states. These classes are usually offered by your local DMV or county government and are often offered for free. If you don’t know where to start looking, you can use the resources provided by your state’s Department of Natural Resources to learn more about this training.

When you’re enrolled in these courses, you must learn how to operate your boat safely and respond effectively during emergencies or rough conditions on the water. You should also familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding boating safety before heading out onto any body of water—it may seem like common sense but knowing what’s legal is critical if you ever find yourself needing help from emergency responders after an accident occurs.

Always Wear Your Life Jacket

Life jackets are the most important piece of boating equipment you can have on board. They’re not just for emergencies but must be worn at all times. A life jacket is not a substitute for a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).

If you’re going to be on the water, it’s best to wear this important piece of equipment at all times while boating.

Stay Sober Behind the Wheel

Alcohol and boating don’t mix, but for some reason, people still think it’s okay to drink and drive a boat. Alcohol impairs your judgment, reaction time, and coordination. It also increases the risk of falling overboard or crashing into another vessel. Alcohol is a major factor in boating accidents, which are often fatal; roughly 30% of all boating fatalities involve alcohol use. If you drink while boating, designate a non-drinking driver—even better if they are sober too!

Create a Float Plan

You should create a float plan and make sure it is communicated to anyone who might be affected by your trip.

What is a float plan? It’s a plan for what you will do if you get lost on the water or have an emergency situation on board, including where you are going and how long you plan on being out there. A good float plan will include the names of people involved in the trip, their relationship to those on board, their contact information (home address, phone numbers), and medical conditions that may affect them while boating (e.g., allergies). The best way to keep track of these details is through free apps like Buzzboat Float Planner or My Boat’s Location—but if those aren’t available, just remember: You can’t go wrong with pen and paper! Write down everything important right then, so no one misses out later when it comes time for rescue missions.

Why do you need one? Because emergencies happen all too often on the water! Accidents happen when we least expect them–even while we’re having fun together around our favorite lake town…or worse yet, when far away from home base during an extended boating holiday abroad.

Check Your Gear and Equipment

  • Check the engine, lights, and bilge.
  • Check that your boat is equipped with all its gear and equipment. This includes:
  • Fuel level. Make sure you have enough fuel to get where you are going and back home again. If it’s the first time you are launching your boat this season, check the operation of all safety equipment and trailer tires, lights, and brakes before getting underway to avoid running out of gas at some remote location far from civilization!
  • Trailer tires. Inspect each tire for tread depth (or how much rubber remains) by using a penny test: insert a Lincoln Memorial cent into one groove of each tire—only about 1/16th inch should be visible above the surface when it is properly inflated! Also, look for signs of damage or corrosion like splits or cracks, which could indicate dry rot that may affect braking performance during use; if any problems are found during the inspection, schedule repairs immediately after bringing them home from storage because they will become more difficult over time due to exposure from weather conditions like rain, or extreme heat.

Watch Out for the Weather

Check the weather forecast before you go out.

Check the weather as you go.

Check the weather forecast before you leave.

Check the weather forecast before you dock. If a storm is coming in, stay on land until it has passed through your area and is no longer a threat to boaters who are still on the water.

Be Aware of the Big Ships

The large ships you see on the water are likely to be the most dangerous because they’re often slow and hard to detect. You should always be alert while boating or swimming near them since they’re difficult to see and can take hours to respond.

When a big ship approaches you, you mustn’t panic. Instead, listen for any signal bells or horns that might alert you of their presence; this will give you more time to react safely. If no signals are coming from the ship, look for signs like smoke trails from their smokestacks—these may indicate an oncoming vessel is approaching from behind or somewhere off in the distance ahead of your boat/swim area.

Follow the Rules of the Road

The rules of the road, lake, river, and sea are similar for boaters. The main thing to remember is that you have to follow them.

Always check local regulations before your trip. The rules may change from place to place and even seasonally, depending on what type of vessel you’re operating and the conditions at the time. If you don’t understand something in those regulations, contact your state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Boating Accidents Happen–Nickerson Insurance Has You Covered

As with any kind of accident, many factors can contribute to an accident occurring, but these tips should help you keep your chances of being involved in one as low as possible. Remember: always wear your life jacket, and always keep your boat insurance up to date, just in case. Need to make sure you have the coverage you need? Contact us today!

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