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You and your family can have a great time as you take your boat on the water as long as you plan ahead. While this does mean addressing safety concerns, it also includes several other factors. Being unprepared in any way can result in an unsatisfactory boating experience for you or your guests. Here is a guide to help you prepare for a better time on the water to ensure the memories you create will be happy for everyone.
Stock Up on Supplies
Just as there are certain supplies you should keep in your car for a road trip, there are also necessities that you should have on your boat before taking it out on the water. In fact, you'll need some of these same supplies in both circumstances, such as a well stocked first aid kit, flashlights, a paper map, a basic tool kit, and duct tape. Additionally, your boat should be stocked with several buckets, a whistle, rope, a mirror, and garbage bags. Some of these items can serve more than one purpose, making them especially useful to keep onboard. For example, garbage bags can be used as ponchos or to cover sensitive electronic equipment.
Get Your Boat Serviced
Before you take your boat out for even a short cruise, you should conduct a visual inspection of the vessel. In particular, be wary of unusual odors or leaks, such as oil or transmission fluid. If you do notice something unusual in this regard, having a technician change your Yamaha transfer case oil and conduct maintenance can help eliminate the problem. Even if you don't notice a problem, it can be beneficial to submit your vessel to a free safety check, which is something the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons offer. Taking the time to ensure the good operation of your boat will reduce your risks of getting stranded or having a boating accident out on the water.
Bring Along Enough Life Jackets
A life jacket serves two purposes for the wearer. First, it helps the wearer stay afloat in the water even when they don't know how to swim. Secondly, a properly worn life jacket will flip the wearer to ensure they stay face-up in the water if they're unconscious. For these reasons, you should ensure each person has a properly fitting life jacket. A jacket that's too small can restrict breathing in the water, while a jacket that's too big may slip off the wearer's body. Ideally, the life jacket should fit snugly. To determine the proper fit, try to pull the life jacket up over the person's head. If you can't loosen the fit in this manner, it's a good fit.
Use Your Common Sense
You should know the boating laws that affect your region since these laws are designed to keep people safer on the water. This includes avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages and traveling at safe speeds. Additionally, you should remain alert for incoming vessels to help you avoid being struck by another boater who may not be paying attention. When anchoring, it's a good idea to drop two anchors on either side of the bow in a V-formation. Be sure the anchors can drop a minimum of 20 to 30 feet as well. These practices will keep the tide from carrying your vessel or causing you to drift from your desired position.
Check the Weather
You should never decide to take your boat out on the water at the spur of the moment for many reasons, but the most important among them is that poor weather conditions can affect the boating experience. Even a day that seems sunny yet is very windy can adversely affect your ability to pilot your boat. You should check the weather in advance of your boating excursion to ensure the water is calm and there aren't any storms expected in the area.
You may also find it helpful to enroll your family in boating safety courses to help them understand more about life aboard your boat. This will ensure everyone is prepared for unexpected situations that may arise. Additionally, you can feel better about your loved ones taking the boat out on the water when you can't be with them. Above all, it's important to remember that detailed preparation is essential to an enjoyable boating experience.