A day spent boating is anything but wasted. With so many activities like fishing and leisurely cruising mixed with the nice weather and feel of fresh water, there are few better ways you could spend an afternoon. Maybe that’s why so many of us seem to spend more time on the water during the warmer months than we spend on land. But no matter how much you take your boat out, staying safe while riding is the most important factor while on the water. So this guide from North Georgia Watersports lays out some of the essential concepts of boating safety. From preparation to riding techniques, we’ll give you plenty of tips to better ensure you’re safe out there. And don’t forget, if you need any parts or repairs, don’t hesitate to stop by our service center. We’re in Blairsville, serving Atlanta, Gainesville, Hiawassee, and Blue Ridge, GA, as well as Murphy, NC.
How to Prepare
Before any boating trip, you need to make sure you check the weather. Even if it looks like it’ll be sunny and bright the entire time, storm systems can move in unexpectedly. You don’t want to be bombarded by heavy winds, waves, and a downpour of rain while you’re on the water, so always check the weather.
Also, communication with people on shore is another essential precautionary measure. If you’re going out to a place without service and something goes wrong, no one will even realize you’re missing. However, you can fix this problem by letting at least one person where you’re going and when you expect to return. That way, they can get someone out looking for you if you don’t return. Along with communication, make sure you bring an assistant skipper along, too. This should be someone who knows how to pilot the boat. That way, if you somehow become incapacitated, they can take over and get you safely back to shore.
Bringing the Right Equipment
Along with making the basic preparations, you’ll also need to create a checklist of necessary safety equipment. While most gear is necessary on every trip, there’s a lot that really depends on the type of craft you’ll be using. For instance, if you’re piloting a yacht, you probably don’t need to wear a lifejacket at all times. In smaller craft, on the other hand, you need to always wear a reliable flotation device. No matter what type of boat you’re in, make sure there’s a lifejacket for every person on board, and you should also bring along a life ring, in case someone falls overboard. Also, consider bringing a flag along. This can be used to signal to other boaters when someone has tipped or fallen into the water. Along with that, take a waterproof bag to bring your cell phone with you, as well as a radio so you can contact the authorities in case of an emergency. Finally, make sure you also have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Fires occur on boats just as easily as anywhere else, and you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the water on a burning craft.
Water Riding Habits
Preparation is important, but it’s only half of the safety process. The rest comes with how you choose to behave on the water. For one thing, you obviously need to actually wear your life jacket while riding, and keep the fire extinguisher in a nearby, accessible location. Also, be courteous to other boaters. You should allow them plenty of space and try to anticipate their movements in crowded areas. That way, you’ll avoid a collision, and prevent animosity between yourself and other boaters. Last of all, make sure you never go out on the water while inebriated. Drugs and alcohol can impact your awareness and judgement more than you might think, so don’t take chances with your life and others’ safety by piloting a boat while intoxicated.
By preparing properly, bringing the right equipment, and practicing good boating habits, you’ll prevent a lot of potential hazards while out on the water. Remember, the lakes, rivers, and oceans can be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared, so follow our guide whenever there’s any question about what you should be doing. Also, you can’t take a faulty craft out on the water, so if you ever need any repairs, feel free to stop by our service department at North Georgia Watersports. Our dealership is located in Blairsville, and we proudly serve customers from Atlanta, Gainesville, Hiawassee, and Blue Ridge, GA, and even Murphy, NC.