Boating can be a fun and adventurous activity to spend with your family or just yourself. However, disaster can happen within an instance. For example, in 2012, a young family was fishing on a river in Oregon. Being inexperienced, the family anchors their boat in a part of the river known for fast, dangerous, and deep water. It didn’t take more than a few seconds before the boat began to sink. While surrounding boats were able to save two of the boaters, unfortunately, the young teenage boy drowned. Boating mistakes like the one above are entirely avoidable if the boater is adequately prepared.
This article will discuss the five most common boating mistakes and helpful tips to keep you and your family safe.
Boating Mistake One: Underestimating What It Takes to Operate a Boat
Underestimating the level of expertise and experience it takes to operate a boat is not exclusive to just novice boaters. In fact, many seasoned boaters still find themselves making mistakes. From safe anchoring to docking and undocking, the rules of the road are entirely different on the water than on the road. We have found that many accidents, like swamping and capsizing, are caused by the simplest mistakes. Some common underestimating mistakes are improperly loading your boat and not following anchor safety procedures.
To better prepare yourself to avoid underestimating your boat, we encourage you to study and learn the proper ways to operate your boat. We recommend you know everything about your particular boat to avoid common boating mistakes.
Boating Mistake Two: Inattention
One of the most common boating mistakes that we have seen that lead to accidents is inattention. When you are out on the water enjoying the beautiful weather and the company of your family or loved ones, it is easy not to pay attention to your boat or surroundings.
We have found that some of the most common accidents due to inattention are groundings, collisions, and capsizing. Additionally, we have discovered that boating mistakes often occur later in the day when fatigue sets in from the day. We recommend that you head back to the dock when you feel fatigued.
Boating Mistake Three: Boating Under the Influence
It is easy to let loose when you are around your family and loved ones on the open water. However, we highly recommend that you and your guests stay clear of alcohol consumption. When you think about drinking on a boat, your first thought is it only dangerous for the boat operator and not the passengers. That statement is just not true. When your passengers drink an excessive amount of alcohol, it can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and coordination impairment. We recommend that you have plenty of drinking options on the boat for you and your guests.
Boating Mistake Four: Failing to Recognize Risk
Boating is a highly relaxing pass time and hobby. However, boating has significant risks that must be addressed, no matter how relaxing it is. For example, bad weather, unfamiliar locations, and hazardous waters are common risks that boaters often overlook. We recommend that you do extensive research on the weather and where you will be boating.
Boating Mistake Five: Underpreparing for Emergencies
By definition, an emergency is sudden and can happen with little or no warning. That is why the saying “better safe than sorry” means so much in the boating world. We have seen that many accidents that affect boaters come from under preparation. We recommend that you have proper communication equipment, develop an emergency plan, and practice regularly with safety equipment on board.