Staying safe at sea can be tricky. In the past year, the boating business has been booming. During the pandemic, a lot of people have been searching for an escape. According to recent figures from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), new boat sales reached a 13-year high in 2020. With that in mind, let’s take another look at some tips for staying safe at sea.
Boat Safety is More Complicated Than Swim Safety
Staying safe at sea in a boat is very different than taking a swim. It requires different skillsets in addition to knowing the best swimming practices. Obviously, the best place to begin is still swimming lessons. Knowing how to survive in the water will always be the primary skill needed. Beyond that, there is more to learn.
Boating Safety Lessons
Beyond swimming lessons, a boating safety course is absolutely essential. These courses are taught by professionals. These experts provide crucial boating knowledge that teach safety precautions and best practices for staying safe at sea.
Just like taking swim lessons, it is never too late to learn. And for experienced boaters, a refresher course can really help to reinforce proper habits and teach new information. Remember, safety information is always evolving. It pays to keep up-to-date.
One organization that offers these types of courses is the BoatUS Foundation. For those interested, take a look at the official website. There are likely boating safety courses available near your location.
Setting the Rules for Staying Safe at Sea
Before anyone sets foot on a boat, it is crucial to set some ground rules. The basics of the swimming pool just won’t cut it on the open water. A random bump from waves can toss and turn a ship of any size. After all, the deck of a boat can be slippery.
Besides making sure that everyone knows basic swimming safety guidelines, it is imperative that the adult in charge enforces some basic guidelines for behavior. This applies for both children and adults.
These can include:
- No running onboard the vessel. As we mentioned, the terrain can be bumpy. It’s better to be cautious and move with purpose. Roughhousing can lead to danger.
- Everyone should keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times. Even if you are fishing, it pays to keep as much of your body onboard as possible. It’s much easier to tip overboard than people realize.
- If you’re stopping to swim, make sure to use the buddy system. Additionally, don’t wander too far away from the vessel. Distance can be dangerous if a swimmer gets into trouble.
- Diving isn’t safe. After all, the surface of the water can be deceptive. It could be shallower than it seems.
Don’t Forget Your Life Jacket
Finally, staying safe at sea means life jackets. Specifically, every person on the boat should use a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket or floatation device. Without the USCG certification, it could be inadequate for keeping a person afloat.
For safety’s sake, an adult should always double-check the life jackets on kids. Make sure every child is wearing the floatation device properly. It should fit snugly on the body. If it isn’t, a loose life jacket could slip off in the water. To learn more about life jackets, visit the official website of the U.S. Coast Guard.