We’re about to launch into peak boating season and if you haven’t bought your boat yet, now is the time! Once you do (or if you’re renting a boat this season), you’ll want to keep in mind some responsible boating best practices so you and your friends and family stay safe on the water.
Believe it or not, boat safety begins long before you ever leave the shore. There are a number of things you can do not only to ensure your own safety, but also the safety of everyone around you.
First, make you have all of the proper safety equipment on board. You can find a detailed list of proper safety gear on our website, but to get you started here are a few key items to add to your check list:
Basic First Aid Kit
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
Tow Ropes & Dock Lines
Marine VHF Radio & Cell Phone
Another important thing to do is prepare anyone planning on boarding the ship – including you – by discussing how to react in the event of an emergency. Start off by taking a boat safety course and passing along key learnings to your “crew.” Next, develop a float plan and distribute copies to those on board as well as someone on shore. You should also make sure everyone on board knows the name of your vessel and has a general idea of the locations you’ll be headed. Remember, in cases of an emergency our mobile site can be accessed anywhere and is an excellent resource for finding towing services and the proper way to signal for help.
Another aspect of boating responsibly is doing your part to prevent water pollution. Not only is it against the law to litter and harmful to our precious waterways, but doing so sets a bad example to younger generations of water enthusiasts.
So next time you’re out on the water, keep these simple tips in mind and be sure to visit our website for even more ways to boat responsibly.
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Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.