Boating Safety

Essential Boating safety Tips

Navigating a boat is quite different from driving a car. Boating safety is an essential part of any boating trip. Boats can move in various directions including sideways, forward, and backwards. Like vehicles, most powerboats come with a steering system. The system allows the boat to turn in the same direction as the wheel. Boats do not have brakes and require a wide berth. It is important to take caution and follow all safety precautions when operating a boat to avoid accidents.

Be Weather-Wise

Be sure to check local weather conditions before leaving the docks. Watch and listen to weather forecasts on TV and radio respectively to determine if the weather is safe for boating. Once you are out and realize that the winds are becoming stronger and more volatile and the clouds are gathering, consider getting back to the docks for your own safety.

Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist

Being ready for any possibilities on the waters is one of the most important boating safety tips. Keep to a pre-departure checklist to ensure that you do not overlook any safety precaution and that you carry all required safety gear including PFD(s) personal floatation devices.

Use Common Sense

Stay focused at all times, navigate far from heavy vessels, operate at a safe speed every time, and use boats that you can easily navigate. You should also be considerate of navigational tools such as buoys because they have been put there to ensure your safety.

Designate an Assistant

Ensure that at least two or more people on board know everything about your boat’s operation and handling, and understand general boating safety. This is important an important safety measure, especially in emergencies when the skipper is incapacitated or injured; someone else can safely get everyone back to the shores.

Develop a Float Plan

Always inform someone else about your float plan before leaving. It could be a family member, staff at your local marina, or even a friend. You should provide them with information such as where you are going and how long you are going to be away. Information that can be included in a float plan include:
• Name, phone number and address of trip leader
• Boat type and registration information
• Trip itinerary
• Names and phone numbers of all passengersIn addition, make sure you have functional signal and communication equipment such as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) onboard (for long trips and open water trips).

Bass BoatMake Proper Use of Life Jackets

Life jackets can help protect you from drowning in case of an accident. Ensure that your family and friends wear life jackets while onboard during the entire boating adventure. You should also have a PFD personal floatation device.

Avoid Alcohol

Avoid taking alcohol before or during your boating trip. Alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of having an accident. Studies have also shown that the effects of alcohol are aggravated by the wind and sun.

Learn to Swim

Proper boating safety involves knowing how to swim. You can get swimming training from local organizations such as the American Red Cross.


Always consider ways to improve your safety on the water and keep boating with TRAC Outdoor!