Safety Tips for Boating on the 4th of July

Monday is the Fourth of July and there’s no better time to take a boat out on the water than Independence Day. Summer is in full swing so the weather is beautiful and most people are off work and school so the whole family can enjoy a day on the water. It’s the perfect way to cap off your three-day weekend.

With the increase in boats on the water this weekend, boating safety is that much more important. Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day often account for more than one-third of annual boating accidents and fatalities. So with that in mind, here are some tips that will allow you to stay safe when taking the boat out on this holiday weekend.

Wear Your Life Jacket

It may seem obvious to some but wear your life jacket when you’re on the boat this weekend. Considering that it’s hot out and it’s not the most comfortable equipment to wear, many people might just leave it to the side. But statistics have consistently shown that about 80 percent of all boating fatalities occur when people are not wearing their life jacket.

Similarly, make sure you have a life ring to throw out should someone go overboard for any reason. They may be able to swim and not be in any danger, but it’s always a good idea to take safety precautions and have the appropriate equipment to ensure there are no fatalities involving your guests.

Prepare for Emergencies

Whenever you take a boat out on the water, it’s important to understand basic emergency procedures should something happen. But it’s not just the driver that needs to know the emergency procedures, everyone on the boat should. One of the key procedures every needs to know is how to contact emergency personnel. If you have a marine phone, its use should be explained to everyone before heading out. If you’re going to use a cell phone, make sure everyone on the boat knows where it is so they can call for help if needed.

Don’t Drink and Boat

When taking the boat out on the water for the holiday with friends and family, it may be tempting to take a cooler of beer to relax. But this is a decision that can have serious consequences. Alcohol has the potential to negatively affect everyone on the boat. For the operator, it can negatively affect his or her judgements. The impact of the sun, wind, and unexpected movements of other vessels already make the operator’s attention of the utmost importance. Adding alcohol to the equation increases the impact of these factors and impairs the operator’s ability to properly operate the boat.

For others on the boat, it can negatively affect their ability to respond in emergency situations. With the increased risk of boating accidents during the Fourth of July weekend, it’s important for everyone on the boat to be alert so they can call for help or act appropriately in emergency situations.

Create a Plan

Part of being prepared for going out on a boat is having an emergency plan should something go wrong. That plan should start before you even take your boat out on the water. You should discuss with a friend back on shore what to do if you need some sort of assistance. This should include who is going on the journey, where you’ll be going, what the boat looks like, and what time you expect to be back. That way, if for some reason you’re unable to reach out for help in an emergency, someone will know where you are and how to find you.

Stay Aware

The Fourth of July is one of the most popular days of the year for boating meaning that there are far more boats on the water than your typical day. It’s imperative that the operator and those on board stay aware of other boats that are around. You can’t predict what these other boats might due or if they might be impaired by the sun, wind, or other factors that may see them make an unexpected movement. Staying aware of these boats and ensuring to keep your space will give you the ability to stay out of a potential accident.

There’s no better way to cap off the Independence Day weekend than by going out on the water with friends and family.  But with the increased amount of boats on the water, it’s important to take safety precautions. These safety tips will ensure that you and your family enjoy your Fourth of July and return safely at the end of the day. If you enjoy boating but aren’t ready to purchase, join 321 Boat Club.