Millions of people around the world enjoy recreational boating. In the US alone, more than 11 million recreational boats are registered.
Safety should be the No. 1 priority of anyone getting out on the water – whether it’s a lake, river or ocean. In 2017, the US Coast Guard recorded 4,300 accidents and almost 700 deaths.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a paddleboard or kayak in a local pond is hazard-free. Always take proper precautions to enjoy yourself safely!
Here are tips from the National Safety Council for people of all ages.
1. Wear Lifejackets. Three of four boating deaths are due to drowning, and 84 percent of the victims weren’t wearing a floatation device. Wear one any time you’re on a boat, motorized or not, even if you’re a good swimmer and the water looks calm. Falling off a boat can cause injury or confusion. It could even knock you out.
2. Get Educated. The National Safe Boating Council suggests learning safety procedures and local laws. If you’re using a motor boat, you should learn about carbon monoxide hazards.
3. Use Good Judgment. Don’t drink and drive a boat. Respect the weather. Use common sense at all times.
4. For Water Sports. Skiing, tubing and wakeboarding are fun but can bring added risk – to you or to someone in your group. So make sure everyone knows how to get out of the water, how to use a tow rope, and to do these kinds of things only in the daylight.