Boats can be a great deal of fun but there is also a lot of personal responsibility involved. You have to make sure your boat is safe and everyone aboard will be perfectly safe while you are in control. Boat safety is a lot of common sense but when you are planning for a fun day on the water with friends or family, you might overlook a few things. Let's take a look at some of the common safety issues that may arise while boating.
The first thing you need to understand fully is that boats can travel pretty quickly but don't stop on a dime. It takes quite a while for a boat to come to a complete stop. The danger arises when you are heading for docks, picking up swimmers, or are close to shore. If you don't have a good grasp of your boats acceleration and deceleration times and the distances involved, it's a recipe for disaster. Inexperienced boaters often hit docks or run aground because they just don't take the time to find out how much room you will need to stop. Even a miscalculation of a few feet can damage your boat and cause people to fall down or even overboard. Practice makes perfect so see how fast you can stop at various speeds in the open water.
Boating tends to attract beer. I'm not sure why but they just seem to go together well. If you have a couple drinks you should be ok but if you get completely drunk, nothing good can come of it if you are the driver. Drink responsibly while boating. If you are drunk and fall overboard, there is a chance of drowning as well. If people are drinking, enforce a life-jacket rule.
Another issue is the condition of your boat. If your boat is well maintained you shouldn't have a problem but if you smashed into a rock last time out and did a shoddy repair job, think twice before you get out on the water. You don't want to end up stranded or full of water. If you can't do it yourself, let a professional repair any hull damage.
Above all else, follow all laws that apply to the region you live in.
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