9 Tips for Boating Safety this 4th of July
Posted on Fri Jul 02, 2021
The 4th of July is just a couple of days away, and we are all long overdue for a good community celebration. With this holiday arriving on Sunday, plenty of people will be heading out on the water to enjoy time with friends and family. Boats are a lot of fun, but they also come with a fair degree of risk. To help you stay safe this weekend, I wanted to cover a few safety tips before you head out on the lake.
Don’t Drink and Drive
This rule does not only apply when you’re talking about getting behind the wheel of a car. Operating a boat while under the influence of any intoxicant is absolutely not worth the risk. Not only is it a great way to receive a citation, but the truth is that you could easily harm yourself or another person if you are impaired while you operate a large vehicle of any kind. It isn’t worth it, I promise.
Remain Focused at All Times
The reality is that operating a boat is as dangerous as it is fun. You might love spending time out on the water and flying across the lake—but respect the risks that boats can pose. It really only takes a single moment to make a life-changing mistake. Recent statistics show that 664 boating accidents were caused by operator inattention. Stay focused when you are driving a boat to avoid harming yourself, your passengers, or others.
Know Alcohol Laws
There are plenty of lakes that do not permit alcohol in any capacity. If you have alcohol on you in any of the restricted areas, you run the risk of receiving yet another citation. When they say that alcohol is not allowed, they really do mean it. They will not give you a pass just because you aren’t drinking it if it is on the boat.
Share Boat Duty
A long day out on the water can be fun, but operating a boat is surprisingly hard work. To ease the burden and ensure that you get to have some relaxing summer fun too, it can be helpful to have more than one driver. This will allow you to get a break and get the most out of your day off!
Avoid Drug Use
Holidays bring out a special excitement in the air, and it makes a lot of us want to cut loose and have fun. Unfortunately, illegal use or possession of drugs is still forbidden, even on holidays. It is not worth it, and rest assured that the police are looking for more people to be using certain substances than normal. They will not be happy to find it on your boat.
Know the Rules
Whether you head out on the Tennessee River, Smith Lake, Lake Guntersville, or Wilson Lake, different rules can be in place. Knowing the local laws and regulations of an area is important. Last year, 316 accidents were caused by a violation of navigation rules. Not only will knowing them to keep you out of unintentional trouble, but it will also help you to stay safe. Minor rules can have very big impacts out on the lake.
Have the Right Licensing
Boating in certain spaces can have different licensing requirements, and it is your responsibility to know them. These requirements are often in place to protect everyone out on the water, so make sure that everything is up to date on your boat. It is a good way to avoid minor citations and potential mistakes as you glide across the lake. This paperwork exists for a reason, even though it can feel like a pain to keep it all in order.
Avoid Crowded Places
Going out on the water in a boat can be tempting, but sometimes it simply isn’t a good idea. When the water becomes too crowded, there is a more significant risk of collision and injury. In 2020, 181 passengers died from falling overboard on a boat. In crowded conditions, this can be even more dangerous when it occurs.
Wear Life Jackets
Life jacket laws can vary depending on where you are but wearing a life jacket is always a good idea. You might think that you are a strong swimmer, but you never actually know what will happen out on the water. Last year, 450 of the 534 drownings were people who did not have a life jacket on.
When 4th July arrives and, you find yourself cruising across the lake, remember to take active steps to ensure that you stay safe. Boats are a blast, but they are also large and they can be dangerous in different circumstances. Know how to stay safe out there so you get to look back on the memories from this day with a smile on your face, not a feeling of regret. We all have to follow the rules to ensure that everyone makes it home safe this year, so be sure to do your part!