Safety First! Be Ready For Any Water Emergency
Renting a boat, waverunner or jet ski is a favorite summertime water activity. The speed of the craft and the fresh sea air can be intoxicating and give you the thrill of a lifetime. Water activity comes with risk, but like any adventure, if you are prepared and do your research on water safety/boat safety, you and your family will have many memorable summertime experiences. Here are some helpful safety tips for water emergency’s.
Before Going Out On The Water
Make sure your gas tank is full. Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere can make for a stressful and dangerous situation.
Obtain a map of the lake or body of water you will travel in and place it in a sturdy plastic sealable bag. Also in the sealable bag should be your fully-charged cell phone (in its own sealable plastic bag or waterproof container) and personal ID.
What To Wear
Water shoes, sunglasses, and waterproof sunscreen are key components of any water activity.
Most important is the appropriate personal flotation device (PFD). You must wear your PFD or life-jacket at all times to ensure your safety should you capsize or be thrown from your craft. According to U.S. Coast Guard and the National Boating Safety Council’s Safe Boating Campaign Web site, in 2010, 88% of the boating victims who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.
Items For Storage Compartment
Whether you own or rent your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), check that the following items are stored in your craft’s storage compartment:
- Emergency flare
- 15-25ft. rope for docking and towing purposes
- A set of jumper cables, specific to your water craft
- Cell phone and ID (see above)
Know Your Boat or PWC
Learn about your craft’s specific safety features, how to cut the motor and other life-saving information. Whether you are renting or owning, take time to read the owner’s manual before you operate the craft.
Remember, if driving a PWC, without thrust you cannot steer. And, if your PWC capsizes in open water, swim to the rear and turn it upright. More information on proper technique can be found in your owner’s manual; if renting, be sure to ask for the proper maneuver for your specific craft rental.
And, an important safety message when operating any power vehicle — Don’t drink and drive! The operator of a vehicle should always be in control of its craft and fully aware of his/her surroundings. Accidents occur, but as a driver, it is your responsibility to be prepared in all ways possible.
For more safety tips and a Renter’s Checklist visit the Personal Watercraft Industry Association Web site.