How to Get on Board with National Safe Boating Week 2022

By Debbie Hanson

Apr 05, 2022

How to improve boating safety skills during National Safe Boating Week 2022 in May, making your time on the water safer, preventing accidents on the water

National Safe Boating Week 2022 is this year’s kick-off of the Safe Boating Campaign, a global awareness effort that encourages boaters to make the most of their boating adventures by being responsible.

You might be wondering, “When is National Safe Boating Week this year?” National Safe Boating Week (NSBW) runs from May 21-27, 2022 and encourages all boaters to brush up on boating safety skills for the upcoming summer boating season. Check out ten ways to make your time on the water safer in honor of National Safe Boating Week 2022 and on all your future boating adventures.

1. Take a Boating Safety Class

Commit to taking a boating safety class to gain valuable knowledge and hands-on boating safety skills. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, and local boating clubs offer boating safety course options for everyone from novice to experienced boaters.

2. Check Equipment

Before any boating trip, make sure all essential equipment is present, working and in good condition. Call your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to have a vessel safety exam conducted on an annual basis. These vessel safety checks are free of charge. If your boat does not pass, no citation is issued at that time. Instead, you are provided a written report with instructions on how to correct any discrepancies.

3. File a Float Plan

Make a trip itinerary, know where you are going, and share your float plan with someone on shore. When filing a float plan, include operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and list of communication equipment on board.

4. Wear a Life Jacket

Make sure everyone wears a life jacket or PFD. A stashed or stowed life jacket is of no use in an emergency. When selecting a life jacket, a boater should check that it is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for the water activity, and fits properly.

5. Use an Engine Cut-Off Device

An engine cut-off device, or engine cut-off switch, is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.

6. Watch the Weather

Weather conditions can change rapidly on the water. Always check the forecast before leaving the dock or boat launch, and monitor conditions frequently throughout the course of your trip.

7. Keep a Sharp Lookout

Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2019 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout. Always keep a proper lookout, using both sight and hearing, at all times. Watch and listen for other vessels, radio communications, navigational hazards, and others involved in water activities to be aware of the situation and avoid the risk of collision.

8. Travel at Safe Speeds

Be familiar with the area and potential hazards where you are boating, know the local boating speed zones, and always travel at a safe speed.

9. Never Boat Under the Influence

When on a boat, wind, waves, noise, and the sun can impair balance, coordination, and concentration. These situations are intensified when combined with drinking alcohol, taking drugs or even some medications. If you are the skipper, stay alert and sober. Choose to be or to designate a sober skipper before leaving the dock.

10. Keep in Touch

Have more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can be important devices to have in an emergency. Carry a marine radio and carry a water activated EPIRB, particularly when heading offshore.

Be prepared, be safe, and be ready for National Safe Boating Week 2022 by applying each of these boating safety tips on your next trip.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.