1. Designate a First Mate
Driving a boat can be stressful, especially if you are a new driver. Navigating the water, keeping your eye out for debris, and looking out for other boaters all while making sure all of your passengers are safe is a lot of things to do at once. Having a "first mate" or an assistant to be on the lookout while you're driving helps keep you aware of everything going on. It is also good to have a second set of eyes to make sure everyone is accounted for and out of the water before starting the engine. It is best if your first mate also has some boating knowledge and experience so they know how to act in the event of an emergency. However, if none of your passengers have boating experience, just ask if one of them could help you watch out for other boaters and potential debris in the water.
2. Check the Weather
A fun day on the water can suddenly turn treacherous when a storm rolls in. During storms, the wind picks up which causes the water to get choppy and can make it more difficult to navigate. Rain decreases visibility which can make it hard to see other boats, rock dikes, or debris. Additionally, you may not be able to find anywhere to seek shelter from the storm while out on the open water. To avoid these potential dangers, check the weather before you go boating and be sure to head for shelter if it looks like a storm is rolling in.
3. Avoid Alcohol
You should obviously have a designated sober skipper. Operating a boat while intoxicated is not only incredibly dangerous, but it is also illegal. However, you should also try to encourage your passengers to avoid alcohol as well. Alcohol can inhibit a person's balance and could make it easier for one of your passengers to fall overboard. It can also affect a person's ability to swim and increase their likelihood of drowning. At the very least, make sure your passengers are consuming alcohol in a responsible way and have a sober first mate in case of emergency.
4. Use Life Jackets
It is actually the law that there is a coast guard approved life jacket on board and accessible for each occupant of the boat. Be sure to check that you have the correct number of life jackets for everyone on the boat before you leave the dock. It is also a law that children under the age of seven are required to wear a life jacket while on board a boat. We recommend that any child under the age of 12 should wear a life jacket while on board, especially if they are not strong swimmers. We also recommend that any elderly persons or poor swimmers wear life jackets while on board.
5. Know Where You're GoingHave a plan and tell someone who isn't joining you where you will be boating and how long you will be gone. Make sure you adequately prepare for your journey by knowing how much gas it will take to get there and directions to where you're going. You should also bring adequate food, water, and clothing if you will be out for an extended period of time. It is important to know the area and the body of water you will be boating on. Some rivers and lakes can have treacherous areas to avoid such as strong currents, rock dikes, or shallow water.
These boating safety tips are not a complete list of boating laws or boating safety regulations. We just wanted to give you a few of our favorite tips to help keep you safe on the water. We also want to make boating more accessible and more affordable, and that's why we live by the motto "better product, better prices, better people." We offer boat rentals at the Lake of the Ozarks ranging from hourly to weekly plans. We even have jet ski and boat rental memberships if you are looking for boat access all season long. Don't wait to start making amazing memories on the water. Call today to make a boat or jet ski rental reservation at the Lake of the Ozarks.
BETTER PRODUCT, BETTER PRICES, BETTER PEOPLE!