By Nathaniel Wu
Earlier this month, we had our second boating trip! With the summer season coming about, we can say for certain that boating will be on the rise. Although recreational boating is a very fun activity, thousands of people get in boating accidents every year. Therefore, we have compiled a short list of basic boating safety tips for recreational boaters. For simplicity, we will be talking about non-motorized boats (rowboats, canoes, and kayaks).
#1 Choose Timing and Location Wisely
Since boating takes place outside, take the weather into account. Don’t go boating if it is storming, extremely windy, or the water is rough (typically in an ocean). If it starts raining, it is not necessarily dangerous, but being wet won’t be fun at all. Worse, it can turn into a storm, which means danger. Weather can change at any time, so be ready to exit the water if needed. Also, exercise common sense and don’t go into any waterways that are beyond your skill level. Before leaving, make sure someone on land is aware about the activity and how long it should take. This way, they can contact emergency help in case anything goes wrong and you are unable to return to shore.
#2 Get educated
Knowing the rules of the water is important to both having fun and addressing issues that may come up. Learn the paddling technique, etiquette, how to avoid capsizing, and what to do in emergencies. Staying informed builds confidence and makes boating even more fun. Consider taking a lesson or search the internet for beginner boating tips. Spending some time learning the basics can go a long way in the future.
#3 Be prepared
Just like any outdoor activity, bring the correct stuff. The essentials include a life jacket, cell phone, food, water, appropriate outdoor clothing, first aid kit, and a helmet if the boating is more intense. Nice-to-have items include a change of clothes, sunscreen, and bug spray. Check the website of the lake/river/pond for any additional recommended items, as those will be tailored to that body of water.
Boating is a fun activity, but safety is always the #1 priority. Be sure to grab some friends and go out on the water sometime. Happy boating!