13 Safety Essentials
With the peak boating season rapidly approaching, it is important to brush up on safety rules and precautions before taking to the water as every water user’s safety should always be the primary concern. Knowledge and experience, together with following a set of boating safety practices will go a long way in helping to prevent any potential disasters.
1 Common Sense is Vital
As with many things in life, it is vital never to ignore the overriding power of good common sense while boating. When on the water, constantly anticipate changes in your surroundings and be aware of the actions of other water users, whether they are other boats, waterskiers, kayakers or swimmers. Operate your boat responsibly in terms of speed and keep a close eye on the activities of all those on board at all times.
2 Weather Savvy
Before launching your boat, check the weather via online website forecasts, radio or TV. Never take chances with the weather – especially if you’re planning on going out to sea – and always make a safe and calculated decision based on the information provided. Once on the water, closely monitor the state of the weather including any changes in wind speed and direction, tides and currents, the potential build-up of storm conditions, etc. Never put your crew at risk and when in doubt, return to port as quickly as possible.
3 Always wear a lifejacket
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) requires that you carry an approved personal flotation device, or lifejacket, for each person aboard your vessel. A lifejacket should be worn at all times while boating as you never know when an accident may occur. Statistics show that nine out of every 10 drowning victims may have survived a capsizing or fall overboard if they had been wearing a lifejacket, so make sure that you choose a lifejacket that’s comfortable and which you won’t mind wearing.