NEWS | July 13, 2011

Boating safety

By 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office

Boats are a fun resource for both transportation and recreation but they can be dangerous if basic safety guidelines are not followed.

- Every boat outing should start with a basic assessment of the boat's condition, especially checking for loose objects or exposed, sharp edges. This is especially important because footing can be unsteady while on the boat in the water, so checking the boat before leaving shore will help prevent potential injury.

- It is important to make sure the boat is not overloaded. Check for weight and passenger capacity.

- Make sure there is a lifejacket for every passenger on the boat and extras to use in case of an emergency.

- Check weather reports before going out for the day. High winds or storms can roll in quickly and catch you off guard.

- Be sure to have a gas fuel reserve in case of emergency or if you get lost. Fueling stations and marinas are not always available.

- Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on returning to shore.

- Be familiar with the anchoring procedures for the boat.

- When the vessel has reached a complete stop, anchors should be lowered, not thrown.

- Know your boat's load limit, and don't exceed it.

- Knowing how to swim just makes good sense if you spend time on the water.

- Keep lifejackets visible and accessible and never make someone feel uncomfortable if they choose to wear one.

- Remember, while a drink or two can relax you and make your day more enjoyable, it may also slow your reaction time, reduce your coordination and increase your susceptibility to hypothermia.

- If diving from a boat, know how deep the water is.