Labor Day weekend is an exciting celebration of the end of summer, and boaters across the country will be taking advantage of the last warm days to enjoy some fun in the sun. But before you head out, keep in mind these important tips to ensure that everyone on board stays safe on the water.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boater fatalities. Do not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while piloting any watercraft. Vision, balance and reaction times are negatively affected.
WEAR A LIFE JACKET
Everyone on board should be wearing a life jacket at all times, not stowed away “just in case.” In an emergency, there won’t be enough time to put one on.
FILE A FLOAT PLAN
File a float plan and leave it with at least one person so they know where to find you if needed. Law enforcement can use this if you need assistance. USE AN ENGINE CUT-OFF DEVICE
Use an engine cut-off device that will shut the engine down if the operator falls overboard. CHECK THE WEATHER
Check weather conditions and be aware of any storm warnings BEFORE you head out.
WATCH YOUR SPEED
Know the speed limits and no-wake restrictions of your lake.
Never exceed your boat’s weight/person capacity.
TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS
If you’ll be boating at night, be sure your boat’s navigational lights are working properly.
For more safety tips and boating information, visit the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators