What better to way to spend the last days of summer than boating on the Potomac River? Boating, kayaking and canoeing are popular Virginia activities, but like any activity on the water, it can also be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening.
It can be tempting to just jump aboard and set off right away, but there are some things you need to take care of first. No matter how experienced you are, it’s always necessary to follow boating safety tips for a safe and enjoyable boating.
Here are 6 boating safety tips to keep you out of danger:
1. Always check the weather forecast before you go
Always check local weather before you jump aboard. Be wary of storms, strong winds or sudden drops in temperatures. This all can signal that the weather is about to get worse, and that it’s time to postpone the boating activity.
2. Never leave without a properly fitting life-jacket and children’s outfit with lifejackets
Having a properly fitting life-jacket for both you and the children can be potentially life-saving. Don’t buy life-jacket that are too small or too big. Some people think that just because they’re good swimmers this doesn’t apply to them, but this can be a huge mistake. A large majority of drowning victims weren’t wearing a life-jacket, so make sure that you don’t make the same mistake.
3. Keep a safe distance from the swimmers
Whatever type of craft you’re using, it’s important to keep an eye out for swimmers. Don’t come anywhere near the swimmers while you’re operating on the water.
4. No alcohol
Although alcohol and summer go hand in hand, drinking on the boat can be a bad idea. Sun and wind make the influence of alcohol even stronger, so you should definitely save that beer for later. You need to be alert at all times while operating your craft, and you won’t be able to do that under the influence of alcohol. Plus, boating accidents are twice as common among people who drink on the boat.
5. Make sure you have someone to help you out if necessary
There should always be at least two persons who know all about the boat safety, and how to operate the craft. You should have somebody by your side who knows how to keep everyone safe in case of an emergency. If an accident happens, and the main navigator is hurt and unable to drive, somebody will have to take charge of the boat and get everyone to the shore safely.
6. Make sure that the radio services are working and always have a plan
Before departure, always make sure that the radio services are functioning properly. Also, it’s a good idea to develop a boating plan and let other people know about where you’re going and how long you’re intending to stay. This can be useful in case something happens to you, so people will know where to look.