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If it were up to you, you’d probably take your boat out on the water all day, every day, especially when you have convenient access to beautiful lakes and rivers all around you. As tempting as that might be, you always need to keep your passengers safe when boating. Safety should always be your top priority on the water. Take some time to confirm you have all the information and equipment you need before you get carried away with the romanticism of sailing off into the sunset. Whether you’re piloting a Malibu, Axis Wake, or Glastron, safety comes first!
At Family Powersports in San Angelo, we take boating safety very seriously. We’ve put together a list of some of the basics to help get you started. If you have questions or need to invest in some equipment before your next excursion, stop by our dealership in San Angelo! We proudly serve the entire state of Texas.
It’s best not to even look at the water until you’ve properly prepared. An easy way to start preparing for a safe boating trip is to check the weather. You may think it’s always sunny in Texas, but the weather has a mind of its own and can take you by surprise when you least expect it. Severe weather can be dangerous, especially when you’re exposed and vulnerable out on the water. Take extra precautions if the forecast looks a bit sketchy. Hold off until there is a significant improvement to where you feel safe braving the waters.
All of this vital information should be kept somewhere that’s easily accessible so you and your passengers can refer to it and be fully aware of the best safety practices. It’s also good to verbally inform your passengers of this information before you head out on the boat and to review it regularly so it’s always fresh in everyone’s mind. It might even be helpful to assign an assistant skipper, which is someone who can take control if something happens to the captain. Of course, this means that the assistant skipper will need to be able to drive the boat and make important safety decisions if the captain is not able to do so.
Inform someone back on the shore of both your planned route and itinerary. If for whatever reason you become stranded and have no way to call for help, this person will be able to contact authorities and provide a general idea of where you might be. Lifejackets are always required but it is still highly recommended that everyone aboard knows how to swim.
Another way to prepare for an emergency is to be sure you have all the right equipment on board prior to hitting the water. We cannot stress the importance of lifejackets enough, which is especially true for smaller boats, and even on a massive yacht. Of course, you may not deem it necessary to wear on the entire time you’re on the boat, but there should still be a lifejacket for each passenger in the event that you find yourself in a dangerous situation. In addition, you should have a lifering to throw out to any passengers who have fallen overboard, even if they’re wearing a lifejacket.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you should keep a fire extinguisher on the boat as well. Keep in mind some fires can be made worse by throwing water on them. Be sure you have a first aid kit on board as well. You might want to bring a radio with you so you can stay updated on any changes in the weather. While you’ll probably want to keep your mobile phone out of sight so you’re not distracted, make sure it’s in a waterproof bag or container in case you need to call for help in an emergency. Any and all emergency supplies should be easily accessible and everyone on board should know where to find them.
There are other best practices to keep in mind every time you take your boat out. A lot of these practices amount to common sense. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum, especially for the captain. Many tragic boating accidents have involved intoxication, which is avoidable. Impaired judgment can not only affect your ability to operate the boat but it can also make it harder for you to swim if you fall overboard. Your body can’t circulate heat through your extremities as quickly when you’re intoxicated.
Speaking of which, it’s also very important to remain hydrated when you’re out in the sun and even more so if it’s an especially hot day. Provide other boats with adequate space so you aren’t at risk of a collision and always steer clear of debris in the water. Although some debris may appear small and harmless, there could be a much larger problem lurking beneath the surface.
You may think of other ways to keep your passengers safe as time goes on, but this will give you a good start. If you’re still searching for the perfect boat for you and your family, visit Family Powersports in San Angelo today to check out our selection including Malibu, Axis Wake, Glastron, and more! We proudly serve the entire state of Texas.
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