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BOATING SAFETY Following basic rules can save lives.

Bowlights Light the Way for Safe Boating

With the peak boating season about to kick off, all boat users must ensure that both they and their boats are ready and well-equipped to guarantee a safe and fun boating experience for the entire family. Knowledge and experience, together with following a simple set of boat safety rules will go a long way in helping to prevent any potential calamities.

• Common Sense is Paramount

As with many things in life, it is vital never to ignore the overriding power of good common sense. When on the water, constantly anticipate changes in your surroundings and be aware of the actions of other water users whether they’re 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.

• 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 buildup of storm conditions, etc. Never put your crew at risk and when in doubt, return to port as quickly as possible.

• Always wear a lifejacket
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) requires that you carry an approved personal floatation device, or lifejacket, for each person aboard your vessel. A lifejacket should be worn at all times while boating because 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 that you won’t mind wearing.

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