The 2013 boating season is just getting under way, and boaters are making plans for their first lake or river trip of the year. Most of these trips will be relatively uneventful – others will turn into YouTube sensations for all the wrong reasons. With injuries and accidents on the rise in recent years, we would rather you avoid the mistakes that made the following boaters unlucky last year.
Man’s Best Friend Falls Overboard
Part of the joy of boating is being able to bring your loved ones along. This includes your family’s dog – and even cats in some cases. It’s easy to assume that your dog is somewhat self-sufficient or that your cat knows to stay away from the water. However, plunging into the water can put them into a panic and at risk of injury. The family’s dog in the video below will put you on edge as it races back and forth until it eventually becomes a victim of the boat’s movement.
Thankfully the dog was unharmed, but the type of fear the family felt is not something you want to experience. If you’re going to have your pet on the boat, consider these safety precautions:
- Make sure they have updated identification tags
- Purchase a brightly colored PFD with a handle to make it easier for you to retrieve them.
- Teach basic commands to keep them in the boat
- Keep a supply of all of the necessities for them – including seasickness medicine.
You can find more information at YachtPals.com.
Boat Launch 101
One of the most difficult parts of owning and using a boat is launching it. New and seasoned owners alike can slip up and forget launch basics in anticipation of finally getting on the water. Boat size, water level, and launch ramp conditions, among other factors, can play a role in successful launches. Plus, getting your boat in the water is only half the task. You need to make sure your vehicle doesn’t go for a swim also – which is exactly what happened in this next video.
Backing up a trailer is difficult. We recommend that novice boaters test and practice launch techniques in an open field or empty parking lot before heading to the water. This may prevent you from being the next person who needs your car pulled from the water, but just in case – keep a sturdy rope handy.
Watch Out for the Wakes
We understand the excitement of flying across the water at top speeds, and watching powerboats race can be equally entertaining or scary. If you’re a powerboat owner, never forget the unpredictability of the water. The next video shows a group of boaters on what appears to be a typical trip on the water. However, within in seconds we noticed several safety violations that could have left the group with much worse injuries. This video features the full version of the boat ride that has since gone viral.
If you see people like this out on the water, it’s best to stay out of the way. Remember that there aren’t any ambulances on the water, and help could be far away. A first aid kit should always be on hand, but the best medicine is prevention – so most importantly, practice safe boating.
You can find more dos and don’ts in our state-specific boating safety e-books available in our bookstore. We also encourage you to participate in National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24, sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council. Boat Ed® will show our support on “Wear Your Lifejacket to Work Day,” and we would love to have you join us. You can learn more about the event by visiting www.safeboatingcampaign.com.