5 Key Boating Safety Tips From Sea Tow
In honor of National Safe Boating Week, the Sea Tow Foundation offers the following five tips for staying safe on the water this summer. Learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation at www.boatingsafety.com.
1. Wear a life jacket: Life jackets save lives, but only if you wear them. New options such as inflatable belt packs and vests make life jackets cool and comfortable. Wear one at all times while on or near the water. Children under the age of 13 are required to wear life jackets while boating.
2. Designate a sober skipper: Boat operators need to be clear-headed and able to make quick decisions while on the water. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs – including some over-the-counter or prescription medicines – decreases reaction time and the ability to think clearly.
3. Carry a VHF Radio: While many boaters rely on cell phones, they can be unreliable on the water where coverage is often spotty or nonexistent. A VHF radio is one of the most important pieces of equipment on your boat because it allows you to broadcast a call for help to anyone in your area monitoring Channel 16. Before taking your boat out, be sure to perform a radio check to ensure your VHF is operational. In many regions across the country, you can do this via our free Sea Tow Automated Radio Check service. Simply tune to VHF Channel 24-28 (channel varies by area) to check the tone, quality and strength of your radio transmission without having to rely on anyone else. To find the VHF channel for a radio check in your area, click here.
4. Get a vessel safety check: The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons both offer free Vessel Safety Checks to get boaters ready for the season. They’ll help make sure that you are carrying everything you need from an anchor to a fire extinguisher so you are safe and legal on the water.
5. Take a boating safety course: These informative classes offer something for everyone, even if you’re an experienced boater. With constantly changing requirements and regulations, it’s important to make sure you are up to date when it comes to boating safety. Plus, boaters who complete a course may be eligible for a discount on their boat owner’s insurance. A list of all approved boating safety courses offered nationwide can be found at www.nasbla.net/courseListing.php.