Enhance Your Boating Knowledge and Stay Safe on the Water!
Without a doubt, boating is a wonderful pastime. But it can also be quite dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. You could fall into the water, damage your boat lift, bust a hole in the hull, or even get lost.
To help you steer clear of unwanted boating accidents we’ve put together this useful guide to keep you safe.
Use a Pre-Departure Checklist
A pre-departure checklist is what it sounds like. It’s a list of essential items you should have in stock before pushing off from your boat lift. Using a pre-departure checklist is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the safety of your voyage. This checklist includes:
- Life jackets
- Navigation lights and shapes
- Distress signals and sound-producing devices
- Emergency locator beacons
- Fire extinguishers
- Spare batteries
- Extra fuel
- Dock lines
- Documentation and charts
Additionally, your pre-departure checklist should include the safety-checks you perform before setting sail. These include checking the weather, leaving a float plan with someone onshore, and investigating your boat’s systems to make sure they’re functioning properly.
Know the Rules of the Water
Just like with driving a car, you must know the rules of driving a boat to avoid danger. Boating poses many risks like capsizing or falling overboard due to another boat’s wake or even colliding with them.
Not all states require the completion of a boating safety course. In that case, it’s up to you to familiarize yourself with the rules of the water.
Brush up on the study guides made for the official safety courses. These help you learn how to be a safer boater. They cover things like:
- Right of way
- Overtaking other boats
- Collision avoidance
- Boating in narrow channels
- Distinguishing between vessel classifications
- Operator responsibilities
Knowing and following these rules is an absolute must for boating safety.
Maintain Your Boat and Boat Lift
Of course, you also need to ensure that both your boat and boat lift are in proper working order. Otherwise, something might break down, leaving you stuck out on the water.
Be sure to take your boat through semi-annual safety inspections to verify that everything works. Check fire extinguishers, electrical systems, flotation devices, and safety equipment. Also, reassure that the hull is undamaged and free of corrosion.
If any of these things aren’t right, you need to take care of them before getting out on the water.
Another piece of equipment you need to maintain is your boat lift. A boat lift raises and lowers your boat into and out of the water. It has a maximum load it can carry and should not be exceeded. Additionally, the cables on the boat lift need regular maintenance in the form of cleaning and replacement when necessary.
If you neglect boat lift maintenance, it could collapse or drop your boat. Damage caused by drops or other boat lift mishaps can damage your boat and give you a leaky hull. This damage can lead to a sticky situation down the line if you don’t initially notice it.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of the maintenance your boat needs to keep you safe on the water. With the right education and safety checklists, you can enjoy your boat and dock completely stress-free. But if you still have questions, we’d love to hear from you!
At Captain Rod’s, we’ve been working with boat lifts, piers, seawalls, and winterization for 15 years.