Pontoon boats provide more fun per square foot than just about any boat you’ll find. They’re a great place to throw a party with friends, they’re an ideal platform for many types of fishing, and with some modern models, you can even water ski, wakeboard, or inner tube behind them.
As with any boat, pontoon boats present several hazards to anyone on board. And because it’s so easy to have fun on a pontoon boat, it’s also easy to overlook best safety practices. We created this short guide to offer a few pointers on what to keep in mind while you’re out on your pontoon boat. Stop by North Georgia Watersports for all your pontoon needs. We carry pontoons and tritoons from top brands such as Avalon and Tahoe. Located in Blairsville, we proudly serve the areas of Atlanta, Gainesville, Hiawassee, and Blue Ridge, Georgia.
It’s important to remember that every state and many individual bodies of water have regulations governing boating. Make sure you familiarize yourself with all local regulations before you head out. In most areas, drinking and boating is a crime similar to drinking and driving, so just leave the alcohol on shore. There are even laws governing boats crossing state lines so you will probably need a specific boating permit. This is because outside boats can be infected with invasive species such as tiger mussels.
Make sure you bring all the necessary safety equipment on your next trip. The most important piece of safety equipment to have in any boat is a life jacket. Every person on the boat should have a fitting life jacket. You should always wear your life jacket when the boat is in motion, and children should wear life jackets at all times. If you plan on bringing your dog along, consider also getting your dog a life jacket.
Another helpful piece of safety equipment you should carry is a fire extinguisher. Whether you have an engine fire or a grilling accident, you’ll want to make sure you have some way to keep your whole boat from going up in flames. If you are water skiing or wakeboarding, you’ll want to have a “swimmer in the water” flag. This will alert other boats so that they’ll know to slow down and look for swimmers.
Of course, standard emergency supplies are also helpful. A good emergency kit might include things like signal flares, space blankets, first aid supplies, and some emergency food and water.
Watch the Weather
Always keep an eye on the weather when you’re boating and check the forecast before you go. It’s best to cancel the trip if any inclement weather is predicted. Pontoon boats aren’t necessarily well-suited for dealing with large waves and heavy surf, so even a bad wind storm could prove dangerous. Weather, especially weather on large bodies of water, can change at a moment’s notice. Don’t try to brave the storm. It’s always better to head back to safety and go back out if the weather improves.
Keep the Party in Check
Pontoon boats are legendary for hosting parties. There’s a good chance that you bought your pontoon or tritoon boat for that exact reason. It’s important to remember that safety is a little bit more precarious when you’re on the water than it is when you’re on the land. Make sure that people are wearing their life jackets and that people stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Pontoon boats are great for parties and having fun on the water, but make sure you also keep safety in mind. For all your pontoon boat needs, stop by North Georgia Watersports. Our Blairsville, Georgia location proudly serves the areas of Atlanta, Gainesville, Hiawassee, and Blue Ridge, Georgia, as well as Murphy, North Carolina.