Some common boating safety tips include an awareness of the weather and forecast and a thorough check of the vessel for all necessary supplies, including the proper size and amount of life jackets. It is important to follow a pre-departure checklist to follow the many small details necessary for safe boating.
One of the most important steps for safe boating is to have a float plan. A float plan makes it easier for rescue personnel to locate a boat that is lost, damaged or having trouble operating. Making a float plan consists of letting a family member, friend or marina staff member on shore know the name and phone number of all passengers on board as well as information about the boat and equipment and the itinerary for the trip.
In addition to being aware of the weather forecast, boaters should also watch for any sudden changes in temperature, winds and skies and, if necessary, turn back to shore to avoid getting caught in a storm. Another safety tip is to designate another person on board as "skipper," who is familiar with handling the boat and can take over if the person driving is incapacitated in some way. Boaters should also avoid alcohol, learn to swim, take a boating course and become familiar with buoys, navigational aids and other signs found in common waterways.