Safe Boating Week: 4 Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer

Safe Boating Week

The National Weather Service and the National Safe Boating Council in the U.S. started Safe Boating Week to help promote safe boating practices. This year, the safety partnership focuses on a new area of boating safety every day of the week. The week kicked off on Friday, May 19th with “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day.” Other topics covered include:

  • Distress Beacons
  • Marine Forecast
  • Life Jackets
  • Boating Under the Influence
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Thunderstorm Safety
  • Hurricane Preparedness

The team here at Earth Networks is dedicated to increasing safety during boating season, especially since three of these important topics are dedicated to severe weather. We’ve compiled a list of four quick tips in case you don’t have time to read through everything on the National Weather Service’s site. If you own a boat or frequent a boating area, though, this week is worth the time to brush up on your safety and get prepared for a fun and safe summer on the water.

4 Quick Tips for Boating Safety Week

1. Safety Vests

Always wear a safety vest or life jacket when out on the water. This is important for young children and adults alike. Likewise, this is important for people on the boat, in the water, and attached to the boat. While they definitely aren’t’ the most flattering piece of equipment, safety vests are not a fashion statement. Did you know nearly 85% of those who drowned while boating was not wearing a life jacket? In the event of any sort of accident that prevents you from moving, a safety vest is what stands between you and drowning.

2. Pre-Season Boat Safety Check

Before the season starts, keep an eye out for boat safety checks. These events, which are often free,  are a great way to ensure your safety equipment is functioning properly. You can check for these events with your local Coast Guard auxiliary or marina. They’ll check things like signaling devices, life rings, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights to prepare you for a fun and safe summer.

3. Check the Weather

One great method for staying safe on safe boating week and every week is by checking the weather. Bad weather can be a big problem for sailors, fishermen, and recreational boaters. Oftentimes, boat accidents occur during rough waters created by bad weather or in poor visibility. Checking the weather before you head out is a smart way to make sure you’re not putting yourself or anyone else in dangerous conditions.

Three of this year’s Boat Safety Week awareness topics are weather-related including marine forecast, thunderstorm safety, and hurricane preparedness. Don’t forget about the weather when assessing your safety risks this season. Summer thunderstorms can often form quickly and not only put you at risk for a lightning strike but for high winds and rough ocean conditions. Remember that all thunderstorms produce lightning. Keep an eye on the weather while you boat by listening to radio or using an application that tracks lightning cells.

Rememeber, don’t wait until hurricane season to secure your boat. By the time a hurricane warning is issued, it’s too late to work on the dock safely. When it comes to weather and boating, make sure you plan ahead and you will have a great chance at staying safe on the water.

4. Wear Sunscreen

While this tip applies to any summer activity, it’s important nevertheless. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Over the past 30 years, melanoma cases have been on the rise in the U.S. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 10,00 adults will die in 2017 as a result of this disease. Keep yourself safe this summer and reduce your chances of this life-threatening disease by using sunscreen. Sunscreen is important because it limits your body’s exposure to UV rays, which cause melanoma.

You should apply sunscreen one-half hour before going outside. This gives the skin enough time to absorb it. However, water, the sun, and sweat can break down sunscreen, even once it’s been absorbed. To keep yourself protected, continue applying every two hours outdoors and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating. Try to purchase “broad-spectrum” sunscreen at least SPF 15 to protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays.