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Hitting the Water Safely: National Safe Boating Week 2024

Summer is just around the corner, and for many that means spending quality time on the water. But before you get out there, take a moment to brush up on your boating safety with National Safe Boating Week, which runs this week, from May 18th to 24th, 2024.

Why is National Safe Boating Week Important?

National Safe Boating Week is an annual campaign organized by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) to remind boaters of all experience levels about the importance of safety on the water. With more and more people taking to the seas, lakes, and rivers each year, promoting responsible boating practices is crucial to preventing accidents and ensuring everyone has an enjoyable time.

Boating Safety Tips for All Boaters

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time kayaker, there are some key safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Education is Key: Enroll in a boating safety course. These courses provide valuable knowledge and hands-on experience to help you navigate the water confidently.
  • Gear Up: Before hitting the water, ensure your boat is properly equipped with all the necessary safety gear, including life jackets for everyone on board, a fire extinguisher, and a first-aid kit.
  • Float Plan It: Create a float plan that details your trip itinerary, including your departure and return times, destination, and the number of people on board. Leave a copy of the plan with a responsible person on shore.
  • Life Jacket? Check! This one seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Wear a properly fitting life jacket at all times, no matter your swimming ability or the distance from shore.
  • Be Weather Wise: Always check the weather forecast before you go boating. Be aware of potential hazards like storms, strong winds, or high waves.
  • Boating Under the Influence is a No-Go: Just like driving, operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous and illegal.
  • Be a Responsible Captain: Maintain a safe speed, be aware of your surroundings, and watch out for other boaters and swimmers.

Resources for Boaters

The National Safe Boating Council offers a wealth of resources for boaters of all experience levels, including safe boating tips, educational materials, and a directory of boating safety courses.

You can also find value in this document from the US Coast Guard: A Boaters Guide to Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats. Skip to page 41 for safety requirements for your boat based on it’s length.