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Boating Safety

Marian Contagio

Isn't it exciting to steal away for the afternoon in a motorboat for a cruise down the river? Or perhaps you prefer an old-fashioned rowboat ride. Maybe a paddleboat is your idea of fun. On the other hand, you might live for the weekends when you can take an all-day sailing trip across the lake and back.

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Whatever your taste in water transportation, managing a boat can be exhilarating and challenging. But if you're the one in charge of steering, renting, or navigating the vessel, it is important to follow a few basic safety rules and be sure that your passengers do likewise.

1. Don't let anyone drink while on board. Many boating enthusiasts enjoy a cold beer or a stiff drink while out on the waves. But drinking and driving don't mix, whether you're behind the wheel of a car or a boat. Many accidents occur because of negligence, carelessness, or collisions that stem from someone being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so prohibit them from your craft.

2. Keep life-saving equipment on board and up to date. Make sure there are enough lifesavers or life rafts available for all passengers. Before each expedition, check to be sure they are working properly and can be quickly inflated or repaired. Let everyone know where the safety equipment is stored and remind them how to use it.

3. Remind passengers to behave prudently. Jumping into the water, yelling at passing boaters, pushing or shoving on deck, and other foolishness can lead to injury or drowning. Make sure everyone knows what is expected, and then see that they do it.

4. Observe boat safety laws for that body of water. Most rivers, lakes, or seaways post specific rules of usage for their areas, including speed limit and manoeuvring regulations for various types of craft. Familiarize yourself with these rules and hold to them to keep from getting cited or hurting someone.

5. Keep an eye on the weather. Storms can come up suddenly while you're on the water, and sometimes you cannot make it back to port before one hits. Have an emergency plan for a heavy storm, including lightening strike prevention, swamping, or flipping over. Check your radio to be sure it works properly in case you need it for a weather or accident-related emergency.

Sailing off in a boat of your choice can be great fun and very relaxing. But don't overlook the need for safety precautions and observance.

About The Author: Copyright © 2005 Marian Contagio - Marian Contagio is the owner of For Boating which is the premier resource for everything about boating. For more information, go to: http://www.forboating.com

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