When it comes to summer fun, few things beat time on the water with friends
and family. But boating—like any water activity—can be dangerous
without certain precautions.
Here are nine key things to boat safe this season. They're courtesy
of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council:
1. Schedule a boat safety check. Before hitting the water this summer, be sure your boat is in good working
order with a free inspection. A certified examiner can perform it on your
driveway or launch slip. Get the details at
2. Get educated. Almost 7 out of 10 deaths in boating accidents are caused by operator
error. Protect yourself and your passengers by signing up for a boating
safety class. Find one through your local marina, the
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the
American Red Cross.
3. Spread the word. Tell someone when you're going boating, who is with you and how long
you'll be away.
4. Be weather-wise. Check the forecast before you go, and only head out if the weather will
be clear. Get off the water if you notice signs of a storm, such as darkening
clouds, a sudden drop in temperature or increasingly strong winds.
5. Follow a predeparture checklist. Be sure you have everything you need, including a tool box, first-aid
kit and properly fitting life jacket for everybody on board.
6. See that everybody wears those life jackets—at all times. The vast majority of people who drown in boating accidents aren't
wearing life jackets.
7. Never mix alcohol with boating. About half of all boating accidents and fatalities are alcohol-related.
Being under the influence can affect your ability to operate a boat safely,
raise your risk of falling overboard and make it harder to swim safely
or call for help.
8. Stay steady. When changing seats in a small boat, stay low and near the center line.
9. Use common sense. Operate boats at safe speeds and obey navigation rules.
Fun on the water means lots of sunshine.
Try these tips for staying hydrated.