Temperatures are rising here in Texas. If part of your warm-weather plans include getting out on a boat, you may be counting the days until you can do just that.
After months of not being able to get out on a boat, you could benefit from a refresher regarding your safety while on board. People tend to forget that boats are vehicles, and they require the same attention and respect as their roadworthy ones.
Follow these general safety rules
It doesn't matter how many years you have spent your weekends and holidays on a boat. Reviewing the following general safety rules could end up saving not only your life but the lives of your passengers as well:
- A boating safety course could alert you to any changes in the laws or rules that took place since last season if you have experience. If you don't have experience, this class will familiarize you with the basics.
- Does everyone who will join you know how to swim? If not, now would be a good time to learn since relying on a life jacket alone could end badly.
- While you still have time, you could take advantage of a free boat safety inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard. If you need repairs or additional equipment, you can get those issues handled before your first trip and avoid getting a ticket or worse.
- Life jackets may be cumbersome and not cool, but they save lives. One could come in handy if an accident occurs and you end up overboard.
- The weather could not only ruin your plans for a fun trip but could put you and your passengers in danger as well. Make sure you know whether you could encounter dangerous weather.
- You may feel awkward making everyone wait while you go through a checklist before setting out onto the water, but it's necessary.
- How you operate your boat while on the water matters since some of the same behaviors for which you would receive a traffic ticket on the road apply in the water. For instance, you could receive a citation for speeding on the water.
- Make sure someone on land knows where you intend to go and how long you intend to stay out. Important information such as phone numbers, boat registration number and more could help find you if something happens.
- You need at least one other person on the boat who can operate it safely just in case something happens to you. For instance, if you drink too much, you shouldn't drive the boat.
Speaking of drinking, arrests for boating while impaired happen all the time. Don't end up a statistic. In addition, if you have an accident and you were drinking, you could face serious charges.
No matter how safe you are, others may not be. If you suffer injuries because of the negligence or recklessness of another boater, you could pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages.