Estimates by the United States Coast Guard show that 70 percent of boating accidents and mishaps are caused by human or operator error. The following are helpful tips to ensure a safe boating experience:
1. Know the rules and laws
These can differ by region or state. Towing restrictions, insurance, minimum operating age, and boating licenses all vary. Check local guidelines before leaving. Violations can result in fines, ticketing, or jail time.
2. Get your boat inspected
The US Power Squadrons and Coast Guard Auxiliary offer safety checks free, and there are no consequences if your vessel fails to pass the inspection.
3. File a float plan
Inform the Coast Guard and someone you trust about your float plan. This should include details about the boat, number of persons, communication equipment, and your emergency contacts. Should you not check in as planned, the float plan ensures that the information need to help you is available.