Stay Safe on the Water with these Helpful Boat Safety Tips
Spring is almost here and Summer is just around the corner. For many of our visitors and locals alike, it's the time of year when we take off the boat cover, dust off the Winter, and fire up the outboards. You guessed it... it's boating season on Ocean Isle Beach! Whether you have a sailboat or a motor boat, or are a vacationer or a local, staying safe on the water should be the foundation to a day of fun while boating. This week we have all the tips and tricks you need to help you and your family have fun and stay safe on the water this boating season!
Have Proper Safety Gear
Emergencies are just that... unexpected events that you don't know are about to happen. What you can know is how to be as prepared as possible. The first step in preparing for an emergency is having a basic kit ready to go. Here are a few basic items that all boaters should have:
Flashlight – A flashlight and extra batteries can help you see around your boat in the dark and allow you to be seen if you run out of fuel or if your craft stalls.
Duct Tape – It's true... it's one of the most useful things you can have. Even a minor leak can be repaired with duct tape.
Bailing Bucket- Sometimes you just need to bail. If you do, a simple bucket can make all the difference.
First Aid Kit – A properly equipped first aid kit, plus the knowledge on how to use it, is vital in case of an accident or medical emergency.
Whistle – As a recognized signal calling for help on the water, a waterproof whistle is another must-have item.
Ropes – Having a sturdy rope is critical. If you ever need to be towed or lash something, having a rope can be a lifesaver.
Fire Extinguisher – Just because you’re on the water doesn’t mean you can’t have an on-board fire. All passengers should know the location of your fire extinguisher and how to use it.
Life Jackets – You should have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for every person on board. Read on for information about picking out the right life jackets
Check the Weather
One of the best things about being on the water is beautiful weather. However, the weather is a double-edged sword. Warm temperatures can create afternoon thunderstorms. It is always a good idea to check the weather before you head out on the water for the day.
Tip: Marine radios all have a weather channel with continuous local weather updates.
A Safe Boat Is a Well Maintained Boat
Maintaining your boat is one of the most important steps to a safe day on the water. Whether you are inspecting your masts, checking the oil, or doing general hull maintenance, it's a good idea to annually check your boats over top to bottom. The ocean is a harsh environment for engines, electrical components, and fixtures.
Have a Radio
Boating without a radio is a big mistake. All too often people assume their cell phone will always work. However, out on the water, there are often places where cell phone service will be weak or non-existent. A good marine radio allows you direct access to the United States Coast Guard and other services, including the weather. You don't need to spend a fortune on a radio. A good hand held marine radio is all you need to stay safe.
Know Your Boats Limits
All boats have a maximum capacity. It is a requirement that all boat manufacturers provide this information.
Look at your boat's information plate. This will tell you the maximum number of passengers and weight capacity of the boat. Over loading a boat is not only foolish, but can be extremely dangerous.
Life Jackets Are a Must
Life Jackets Are a Must
As noted above, you should always have life jackets. Not all life jackets are the same. There are several different styles and you should be sure to get the style that suits your needs. Fishermen may like slimmer models that inflate upon impact with water. Kids need special jackets that will suit their smaller size. If you need assistance, the United State Coast Guard has lots of great information on how to pick a life jacket.
Tip: Life jackets can go out of date and be degraded over time and with exposure to the elements. Make sure to check your life jackets at the beginning of each season.
Alcohol and Boats Don't Mix
Nothing can ruin a day on the water like mixing driving a boat under the influence. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also illegal. If you are going to have alcohol on your boat, make sure to have a designated driver. In North Carolina, it is common for the Coast Guard and the Marine Fisheries officers to be on the water looking for boaters who are operating vessels under the influence. Stay safe so you can have many happy hours on the water.
Now is the prefect time to book your Ocean Isle Beach vacation! If you love boating, we have some of the best locations on the Carolina coast. Our inventory of homes includes several that are perfect your your boating needs. Give us a call today at 800-727-9222 to speak with one of our friendly reservationists or click the button below to start planning your beach vacation today.