For many boaters, Memorial Day Weekend marks the kick-off of boating season! Friends and family gather together to celebrate and get out on the water. While it makes for an exciting start to the season, it also creates a lot of waterway traffic. Before heading out on the water, it’s important to make sure you and the people you have onboard are reminded of the safety measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable time. To make it easy, the team at Snag-A-Slip has put together a list of boating safety tips for this Memorial Day Weekend!
Essential Equipment & Education
Leading up to the weekend, it’s important to make sure you have all the essential equipment aboard your vessel and that it is working properly. If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with how to operate the equipment, and if needed, take a boating safety course. It’s always a good idea to check with your local boating regulations to ensure you are following protocol. It’s also vital that anyone aboard your vessel is aware of the proper safety procedures and the location of any safety equipment.
Life jackets save lives. Your boat should be equipped with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for all passengers. If you have any questions regarding your local mandates for life jackets, you can visit NASBLA Life Jacket Requirements by State and Age.
Share Your Float Plan
Sharing your plan with a friend, family, or a staff member at your marina is crucial when planning a day on the water. Share your itinerary, any planned stops, and contact information with them. That way if you fail to return, your information is available for any search activity.
Watch Weather & Be Aware Of The Tides
Before you hit the open waters, check your local weather forecast. Wind, rain, lightning, and changing tides, can happen in an instant. If you do find yourself in the middle of a storm, find shelter as soon as possible and notify the people you shared your float plan with.
If you are new to boating, it’s important to become aware of shallow waters and sand bars. With changing tides, water depth can change rapidly, which can cause running aground and can result in serious injury. Pay attention to buoys and markers while navigating that indicate shallow areas.
Many boating accidents can be attributed to the designated driver being distracted. It is important that the person in charge of the vessel is paying attention to signs, buoys, and other boats. Other things such as wildlife, debris, and fishing nets, can be difficult to see and result in accidents. Always keep an eye on the water for any obstacles or boating activity.
Always Have A Sober Skipper
Sun, water, and wind, can cause exhaustion and dehydration. Add alcohol to the mix and you can have a dangerous situation on your hands. In fact, alcohol use is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents in the United States. When planning a long day on the water, have plenty of water aboard for passengers, and always, always, pledge to have a sober skipper.