5 Ways National Safe Boating Week Can Help Save Lives
National Safe Boating Week is coming up and takes place from May 20-26 this year. This observance week serves as an important reminder to prepare for the upcoming summer boating season and to brush up on boating safety tips. Check out these five ways that National Safe Boating Week (sometimes referred to as National Boating Week) can help save lives.
1. Education on Wearing and Choosing Proper PFDs
When selecting a life jacket for boating, you should check that it is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for the type of water activity, and that the life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device) fits properly. If possible, test your PFD in a pool or shallow water to see how it works. It should not ride up or slip over your chin while floating. You can also participate in “Wear Your Life Jacket at Work” Day on May 19, 2023, the day before National Safe Boating Week.
2. Creating Awareness of State Boating Laws
National Safe Boating Week helps to spread the important message about learning the boating navigation “Rules of the Road” such as operator’s responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on, and overtaking situations. Know the boating laws, be aware of what’s going on around you, and travel at safe speeds for the environment. Make sure you know the boating rules and regulations that apply in your state.
3. Reminders About Free Vessel Safety Checks
Boating equipment should be checked and rechecked for safety on all boats. National Safe Boating Week helps to share reminders about scheduling a Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before taking your boat out on the water this season. The best part is that these Vessel Safety Checks are conducted free of charge.
4. Highlighting the Importance of a Float Plan
National Safe Boating Week highlights the importance of having a float plan. Always let someone on shore know your boating trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, communication equipment on board, and expected time/location of departure and return.
5. Creating Awareness of the Cut-Off Device Law
Another key message that is covered in boating safety courses and during National Boating Week pertains to the engine cut-off device law. An engine cut-off device, or engine cut-off switch, is a proven safety device that stops the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
Since you now know how National Safe Boating Week helps to educate the boating community about these (and many more) important safety messages, do your part by helping to spread the word once May 20th arrives.
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 shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.