Families and friends gather to fish, water ski, and cruise around when the weather turns hot. Wind in your hair, mist in your face, and a shore shrinking behind you—no other carefree summer pastime thrills like boating. However, lakes and oceans filled with boats can also be filled with danger. Every year, thousands of boat-related accidents are reported; hundreds are fatal. Follow these simple rules to enjoy time on the water and avoid drifting into danger.
Never Boat Unprepared
- DDriving a boat requires a license just as driving a car does. Although boating education requirements vary state by state, you should always take a boating course before going out on the water.
- Check local weather conditions or subscribe to weather alerts from your security service provider before taking your boat out, as the effects of a storm are far more disastrous on the water than on land. If signs of inclement weather appear while you are on the water, immediately steer the boat back to shore.
- Don't go out on the boat by yourself. There should always be a back-up driver who can operate the boat in an emergency.
- Inform a friend, family member, or marina personnel of your planned destination, number of passengers, and estimated return time before leaving the dock.
- Have a lifejacket on board for every passenger, novices and expert swimmers alike. Flotation devices are vital safeguards against drowning, the number one cause of boat-related deaths.
Stay Alert on the Water
- Know the capacity of your boat when loading it, and ensure that all items are secured before the boat starts moving.
- Remain alert at all times and steer clear of other vessels. Maintain an appropriate speed and be mindful of buoys and no wake-zones.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while out on the water. Boating under the influence endangers everyone, and wind, sun, and heat exacerbate the effects of alcohol.
- Check fuel levels often – as soon as you notice the gas getting low, return to the dock or fill up at the nearest waterside gas pump.
- Turn on all lights at dusk and make sure they are fully functioning and visible to other boaters.
- Pay attention to your boat's depth tracker readings, or watch for any water that looks shallow, so you don't stray too close to the shore.
- As you prepare to dock, slow down and have some of your passengers stand on the side of the boat to keep it from coming into contact with the dock. As you and your party get out of the boat, securely tie both the front and back of your boat to the dock so that it doesn't drift away.
Long-Term Boat Safety
- Get your boat checked every year as part of a long-term maintenance program. The U.S. Coast Guard, which also acts as a security service for lakes and rivers, offers free Vessel Safety Checks to all boat owners.
- Stock your boat with necessary equipment such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, distress signals, a first aid kit, and proper documentation.
- "Winterize" your boat by cleaning the interior and exterior, draining it, applying fogging oil to the engine, and covering it with a tarp.
- Leave your boat in a secure location when not in use. Many marinas employ surveillance systems and security officers to keep your boat safe when it's not in use.
About U.S. Security Associates
U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.