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How to practice boat safety

With the rise in temperatures, many people are anxious to get their boats back on the water. In Florida, we are lucky to have so many bodies of water to enjoy boating activities.

However, accidents can happen out on the water. Three common types of boating accidents are when one of your passengers falls off the boat, your boat overturns or your boat strikes another boat or object. To prevent tragedy, you should practice proper safety procedures.

Here are some ways to stay safe while enjoying your time on the water.

  • Wear a life jacket. This seems obvious, but many people do not wear life jackets when they are on a boat. Maybe they do not like how life jackets look, or just think that it is not that big of a deal. There are wide variety of life jackets on the market, and you can likely find one that fits your style. Wearing a life jacket is important. According to U.S Coast Guard’s latest numbers, 80 percent of boating accidents resulting in death were due to drowning, and of those deaths, 83 percent of people were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket could save your life.
  • Get trained in boating safety. The Coast Guard also showed that 77 percent of boating deaths happened on vessels where the boat operator had received no safety training. Getting certified in boat safety training is easy. In Florida, you can complete your training online.
  • Avoid alcohol. Just as drinking impairs your judgement when you are driving a car, so too it affects you on the boat. If you like to enjoy cocktails on the boat, you can always choose someone as the designated boat driver. Just make sure this person has also completed boat safety training and is familiar with driving your boat.
  • Do not speed. Excessive speed is another factor that contributes to boating accidents. You are out on the water to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Slow down and take the time to admire the view.
  • Maintain your boat. Boat maintenance ensures that your boat is in proper working order. Check the levels of your engine fluid, oil filters and engine-fuel filters. Your boat requires regular oil changes. Examine the propeller (if your boat has one) before you launch. Make sure the propeller nut is on tightly, and the blade is free from fishing line or other debris. If there are big dents on your propeller, you probably will want to send it out for repair.

Spending time out on the water is a great way to relax. Following these guidelines will help ensure you safe and enjoyable time on your boat.

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