Can it be that summer is finally here? Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but it is time to get ready for those outdoor excursions. Summer brings to mind cook-outs, time with friends and family, and spending the day on the water. A perfect way to cool off from the summer heat is out on the water skiing, wakeboarding, or just cruising and enjoying the sunshine. It can get a little crowded out on the water this time of year, so before heading out on the water, here are a few things to remember.
• Check the Weather – There is nothing worse than having an unexpected storm ruin an otherwise amazing day. Weather can change quickly and violently bringing rough water. Getting caught in a storm, especially in a small craft, is not an enjoyable experience. Spending the afternoon, riding through a storm, hoping the waves do not fill your boat and bailing water is about as fun as it sounds. Trust me. Check your local weather station before heading out.
• Wear Lifejackets – Lifejackets have the name for a reason – they save lives. Too often, drownings occur because lifejackets were not worn or were not available. Fatigue happens to the best swimmers and accidents do happen. Make sure you and your family are wearing lifejackets and that lifejackets are available for each person in the boat. Lifejackets are a must have in the boat.
• Avoid Alcohol – This is a simple tip but boating and alcohol do not mix. Statistically speaking, the chances of being in a boating incident double when alcohol is involved. It is also against the law to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Save the suds for after.
• Consider Training – Most boating incidents are caused by operator error, so consider taking a boating safety course before heading out on the water. Courses are offered online for a minimal fee with some courses offered for free. These courses are a convenient way to ensure you and your family enjoy the water safely.
• Use Common Sense – Using good judgment when operating a boat is a key factor in staying safe. Operate the boat at safe speeds, stay alert for people and objects in the water, give other boats the appropriate space to operate, never cross in front of a commercial vehicle and be considerate of others on the water.
A great source for information is through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s website. This website offers access to Washington State’s boating laws, access to registration, educational courses and even ideas on places to boat. So, enjoy this holiday with good food, friends, and family and remember to stay safe while on the water.