When on vacation hiring a boat for the day can be a great family day out. It can be an enriching and fun-filled experience for everyone. That said sailing comes with great responsibility and there are a number of safety features to be aware of to ensure everyone stays safe while out on the water. These safety tips are designed to keep the whole family safe while on a boating excursion and are applicable for all age ranges, including those teenagers who may think they know better.
Have a boat safety kit
Whether a novice or experienced seafarer you cannot foresee an emergency and even the most experienced sailors will know to be prepared. You too can be prepared by having a safety kit on board that includes the following;
- First aid kit
- Life jackets
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
Wear the life jacket
A life jacket could save a life, even of a strong swimmer. Alternatively, it could protect those who may have an accident while on the water and for whatever reason are unable to swim, if they are knocked unconscious for example. It is all very well taking a life jacket on the boat but it will not do you much good if it is not being worn.
Check the weather forecast
When embarking on a boating trip with your family chances are you will be doing so on clear and calm days. That said, just because the day starts off nice doesn’t mean it will end that way. To err on the side of caution be sure to check the weather forecast before sailing and use multiple sources to verify the forecast.
Understand how to use the boat
It may seem self-explanatory but it is not always the case. If you are hiring a boat be sure that you have undergone a full briefing of how to use the boat, any limitations and distance stipulations the provider has. A boat’s onboard capability can range dramatically, some may be fitted with high-end Volvo Penta autopilot systems whereas others may require a more hands-on approach. It is therefore imperative that you fully understand the capabilities of the boat you are taking out on the water and are comfortable taking the reins.
Don’t overload your boat
All boats will have capacity restrictions and for good reason. Overloading your boat will comprise the safety of all of those onboard so be sure that your boat is big enough for everyone and all of the paraphernalia you intend to bring with you.
Put the drink down
As tempting as it may be to pick up a beer when the sun is shining and you are on the open water, drinking and boating are a dangerous combination. Much like using the road while under the influence, alcohol will impair your judgment, affect balance and lead to potentially dangerous situations for you and those around you. Protect your family and do not drink and boat.