Taking a Boat Trip? Here’s What You Need to Know
When temperatures start to rise, the gentle waves of the lake or ocean become tantalizing and tempting. Escaping the heat wave and having family fun becomes the order of the day. Boating provides an escape from the problems found on land as the boat zips across the waves. Before putting on the captain’s hat, there are several need-to-know factors to consider in order to prepare for a boat trip.
Know Where You Are Going
Wandering on the waves may seem enticing, but in reality, you should have a plan of where to go and how long the trip will take. Once on the water, it can be easy to become turned around in the surrounding landscape of blue rolling waves. Additionally, knowing how long and the distance of the trip helps in planning fuel, food, and water needs for all involved. If this is your first boat trip it is also important to know the time of sunset so you are not boating in the dark.
Know the Laws
Depending on the location of the boat outing, different laws and regulations may come into play. There are boating licenses, fishing licenses, and boating rules. The location of the boat trip may bring in rules on speed or creating a wake, especially around marinas or other high traffic areas. There could also be rules around alcohol on board. Additionally, boating under intoxication carries the same implications as driving while intoxicated. So, have a designated captain willing to navigate the way. Some states might require boat insurance as well.
Be Smart, Be Safe
Preparing for a boat trip is not limited to fuel and food needs. Other necessary equipment includes safety gear. Various laws might require certain safety gear depending on boat size, engine, horsepower, and age of those on board.
Personal safety equipment includes the standard lifejacket and flotation devices. There should be one for every person on board. Other safety equipment includes boat safety, distress, and navigation equipment. Examples of these items include life buoys, manual propelling equipment (like paddles), an anchor, flares, and more. It does seem a little overwhelming, but in any precarious situation you will be grateful for the foresight.
Safety knowledge also should not be limited to the person operating the boat. Definitely brief all those on board of where to find safety equipment, designated seating zones while the boat is moving, and ensure they stay properly hydrated as the sun bears down overhead. Preparing them beforehand allows them to be ready if an emergency situation arises. It can reduce the stress of the boat operator as they know their crew is prepped and ready to go.
Think and Respond
No matter how prepared you are, accidents happen. Sudden storms can take over and toss your boat around. In either situation, know how to respond and think things through. The Coast Guard or local boating police units can help in most situations.
Boating accidents can result from a variety of situations, including boat malfunctions, boating inexperience, weather, speeding, or other boats. Accidents can be severe, causing significant damage to boat and body. If you are a victim of a boating accident, know your options. Contact experts and let them know you have been injured in a serious accident. Boat operators are expected to uphold a high level of critical thinking and safety when on the water. If precautions aren’t taken, you may be entitled to compensation.
The preparation process requires a lot of thinking and different considerations. However, once the family hits the open water, it all becomes worth it. A boat trip is a great bonding experience and creates memories for a lifetime. Summertime is the perfect time to take a boat trip. Pack items for an afternoon of fun too – like inner tubes to pull behind the boat. Boating smart is the way to boat for fun as well.