Boating offers an opportunity for adventure and relaxation. Yet, even a sunny summer outing on the water can turn perilous without taking the right precautions. In fact, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are over 4,000 recreational boating accidents in the United States each year that result in roughly 500 deaths and 3,000 injuries.
Safety measures are essential to prevent accidents and ensure everyone onboard enjoys the experience.
Boating safety begins with preparation
Before setting out on the water, ensure that your boat is in excellent condition. Check the engine, electrical systems and safety equipment. Always have life jackets on board for each person, and make sure they fit correctly.
Know the rules of the water
Understanding the rules of the water is as important as knowing the rules of the road when driving. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides a Boating Safety Education Course. Completing this course can provide the knowledge you need to safely navigate Tennessee’s waterways. Remember, Tennessee law requires anyone born after January 1, 1989, to hold a boater education card while operating a motorized water vessel.
Stay vigilant on the water
Staying alert while on the water is key to preventing accidents. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, as conditions can change rapidly. Monitor the water conditions and watch out for other boats, swimmers or debris that could pose a hazard.
Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal, but it is also dangerous. Impairment slows reaction times and affects judgment, leading to risky behaviors. To ensure everyone’s safety, the person operating the boat should remain sober.
Educate all passengers
Everyone on board the boat should understand basic safety procedures. Make sure they know where the safety equipment is and how to use it.
Ensuring a safe and enjoyable boating experience in Tennessee requires preparation and knowledge. Remember, safety should be your top priority. By adhering to these guidelines, you can look forward to a summer filled with memorable and safe boating adventures.