Safe Boating

10 Essential Boating Safety Tips

In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating incidents that resulted in 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and about $46 million in property damage. Boating safety saves lives. Make sure you are prepared, well educated and properly geared up for your next water excursion. 

Boating safety is a concern for everyone on the water. Even if you’re not required to pass a boater safety course in your state, boater safety is everyone’s responsibility. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

For everyone in the boating industry, safety extends beyond just one week. However, it’s great to have a nationally-recognized week where boaters, businesses and organizations can make a collective push to draw attention to boating safety. National Safe Boating Week is organized by the National Safe Boating Council and its mission is to “advance and promote safer recreational boating experience through education, outreach and training.” The week, which includes the Wear It campaign, has grown in participation year-over-year.

Everyone who participated added their own unique touch to the week. We selected some of our favorites to showcase.


1. Checking in with friends and family members before you leave is extremely important - especially if you like to boat alone.


2. Remember that the water is home to many different species of wildlife. Respect the environment and their habitat so we can continue to enjoy it for future generations.

Educate Your Peers

3. Safe boating starts on land by educating your friends and family members. If someone is old enough to operate a boat, encourage them to take their boater education course from a NASBLA-approved provider.

Stay Alert

4. With more people on the water, it’s even more important that you stay alert. The excitement and adrenaline of spawning season can cause boaters to temporarily lose focus. Driver inattention is one of the biggest causes of boating accidents, so while you're waiting for a bite, make sure you keep an eye on other boaters as well.

There are great toolsets out there to provide you with the skills and knowledge to feel confident, have fun, and stay safe on the water!

Wavve Boating includes dynamic nautical charts that automatically update to current tides/water levels, a seven-day weather forecast, crowdsourced information, and more to help new boaters stay safe as you transition from the online learning to the water. 

Boaters who take a course from, Boat-Ed are eligible for two free weeks of Wavve Boating!

Pre-Launch Checklist

5. If you don’t have a pre-launch checklist, it’s time that you got one. No matter how sharp your memory is, it’s easy to forget the little things like checking the bilge or making sure the drain plug is in. Take the extra time to do a quick diagnostic test on before you launch your boat.

Safety for All Ages

6. Safe boating doesn't only apply to kids. It’s a family affair that applies to everyone aboard, regardless of age. This public service announcement from 1977 has a timeless message for all boaters.

Nighttime Boating

7. You never know when you’ll need the skills to help you navigate at night. With less visibility, you need to know what signals you’re sending and receiving from other boats more than ever.

Fire Safety

8. A fire extinguisher is required boating equipment, but just having it on your boat isn’t enough. You should also know how to use it.

Life Jackets

9. A powerful reminder that choosing not to wear your life jacket can change your life forever. Don’t second guess it, just wear it. Learn more about Life Jackets (PFDs) here.

The Right Equipment

10. Not all life jackets are made equal. Some are made for specific water activities while others should be worn depending on how far you are from shore. You should only purchase life jackets that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Founded in 1958, the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) serves as a national catalyst for developing a safe boating culture by providing educational resources, outreach programming, and training opportunities for industry partners and the boating community to influence safe, secure, and responsible boating.

Keeping you safe on and off the water! Get your high-quality life jackets as you plan your next outdoor adventure.  

Looking for more information on boating safety in your state? Visit and select your state. Happy safe boating!