Eight Tips for Safe Summer Boating

A family happily rides in a boat

What’s more fun than a summer day on a boat?

We dream all winter of long days on the water with the sun on your face and the cool wind in your hair. While boating is a great way to spend a day, boating safety is often overlooked.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 636 people died as a result of a boating accident or injury in 2022. Alcohol use, operator inexperience, and operator inattention were the top three causes of the 4,040 boating accidents that occurred last year.

This means that most boating accidents and injuries can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

To safely enjoy your next boating adventure, follow these boating safety tips.

Take a Boating Class

Drivers should take a boating education course to keep passengers safe.  In 2022, 74% of boating fatalities occurred on vessels where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Here’s a list of safety courses, customized for every state.

Know the Nautical Rules

Always be on the lookout for and respectful of buoys and other navigational aids. If you need to brush up on your skills, the Coast Guard has a helpful online training.

Use a Pre-Departure Checklist

A checklist is a helpful way to check the boat and ensure that proper gear is on board including life jackets for all passengers.

Develop a Float Plan

Always let someone know where you will be boating and when you plan on returning.

Watch where You Float

Turn the boat off when swimming and use caution when it is in idle.

Don’t Drink and Drive

Drinking and driving a boat is illegal in every state. If you’re serving alcohol on board, the driver needs to abstain.

Watch the Weather

Check the forecast before you go and keep an eye on the sky while boating. If you hear thunder roar, head for shore.

Dress for Success

In 2022, 85% of people who drowned while boating in the United States were not wearing a lifejacket. Even if you can swim, always wear a lifejacket while on a boat. (That goes for adults and kids.)

By following these simple steps, you can ensure smooth and safe sailing for both you and you passengers.

Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.