Boating is typically a pleasant activity enjoyed with family and friends, and this is rarely more true than on holiday weekends such as Labor Day. Lakes and rivers always experience an upswing in boating on holidays, and accidents rise accordingly. To ensure the safety of yourself and anyone boating with you there are five basic steps you can take.
1. Wear a Life Jacket
A life jacket should not only be present on board your boat for every person present, but everyone should also be wearing their life preserver while in the boat. Life jacket’s are the water equivalent of seatbelts and rightly so. Even the strongest swimmer can be rendered helpless in the right scenario, and a jacket can mean the difference between life and death. Make sure everyone is in their life jacket, and that it is properly secured before the boat ever moves.
2. No Drinking
Given the large number of people who still drink and drive motor vehicles, it is no surprise that many boating accidents can also be attributed to alcohol. There is no place for alcohol and any type of motorized movement. If you have consumed too much alcohol to legally drive, skip boating. It would also be best to avoid having an alcohol-laden party for others hosted on your boat. While you may not have trouble abstaining while everyone else is not, a boat full of intoxicated Labor Day revelers contains too many variables. Save the booze for the shore party and have “dry” fun on the water.
3. Carry a First Aid Kit
Whether you are going out on a fishing excursion or water skiing around the lake this Labor Day, have a first aid kit handy. It may not be used at all or only on small incidentals like splinters, but it can save the day in certain situations.
4. Check Your Boat Lights
It is especially important to make sure you have fully functional boat lights over Labor Day weekend. The holiday spawns higher traffic on lakes and rivers and in the early morning hours, at dusk, and at night, your boat lights could be the only thing that prevents you and other boaters from colliding in the dark.
5. For Large Groups Have a Flotation Device
If you are out on a larger boat with numerous people, it is a good idea to carry an inflatable raft or flotation device. Should anything catastrophic happen, your party will be able to stay together and any injured persons can lay comfortably instead of having to tread water.
Be smart this Labor Day by being prepared to take safety seriously. Check your boat lights, prepare a first aid kit and a flotation device, don’t drink, and have a life jacket for everyone on board your boat. By following these tips your outing will be as safe as it can be which will allow everyone to enjoy the fun more thoroughly.