It’s the middle of summer, prime boating season, so many marine enthusiasts are getting their boats out on the water as often as they can. If you’re one of these, you should know the importance of basic boating safety. Boats, just like any other form of transport, have their own inherent dangers, which is why safety matters. Whether it’s having all the right emergency equipment on board your vessel or navigating rough waters, you want to be prepared before you leave the dock.

To help you plot a course to safe boating, Germaine Marine presents this basic boating safety guide that covers all the essentials. If you have any concerns about your boat, call up our service department to schedule an appointment for maintenance from one of our certified mechanics.

Preparations

Start your preparations before you get your boat loaded onto its trailer. Give your boat a full inspection from bow to stern. You’re looking for damage to the hull, mechanical issues, malfunctioning lights and anything else that seems amiss. Let our mechanics at Germaine Marine take care of any severe issues you can’t address yourself. Make a checklist of everything you need to bring aboard and appoint an assistant skipper. You’ll need to teach this person to operate the boat in case you become incapacitated. As an additional safety step, make a copy of your itinerary with where you plan to be and leave this with a trusted neighbor or friend so they know to alert authorities if you don’t return on time.

Check the weather in advance of your trip as well as the morning you plan to depart. If you see storms brewing, you may want to delay by a day or two to avoid getting caught in high winds or lightning.

Carry The Right Equipment

Your boat should be fully equipped with all the right safety gear so that you’re not caught off-guard in an emergency situation. Everyone on board should have a lifejacket to wear, which may not be necessary all the time on a large boat, but will definitely be important on a smaller vessel. You should also have a throwable life ring in case someone falls overboard. Carry a well-packed first aid kit with plenty of supplies, such as bandages, ointments and medications, including seasickness remedies. Carry a radio in case your cell phone doesn’t function, signals or flares and a fire extinguisher. Make sure that these tools are all in good condition before each voyage, and replace anything expired or worn out.

Use Common Sense

Once you’re finally out on the water, you should use some common sense to keep both yourself and those around you safe, as well as avoiding doing damage to your boat. Make sure you have all the necessary licensing and registration and insurance needed for your boat on board. Never drink or use drugs before or while operating your boat. Both will impair your focus and make you more likely to take undue risks, and alcohol will decrease blood flow to your extremities, making you more likely to suffer from hypothermia should you fall overboard. Be smart and remain sober, even if your passengers are imbibing.

While passing other water users, whether boats, watercraft or swimmers, give them a wide berth and head to the right, signaling your approach with lights or sound. Avoid debris in the water and stay away from shallow areas to avoid running your boat aground. If you have an emergency, stop your boat’s engine and signal or call for help, then wait for its arrival.

To see some great new and used boats for sale, visit one of our dealership locations to see our inventory of boats in various styles. Germaine Marine serves the Utah cities of Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem, in addition to the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Mesa and Gilbert.