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Sailing Safety

Jul 31, 2013

Sailing is a wonderful pastime for some, and a competitive sport for others. If you’re new to sailing, here are some suggestions to keep in mind before you cast off, and some tips for when you’re on the water: Safety equipment
Every state requires different boating devices and equipment, but some conditions are the same throughout the country. You can’t go boating without life preservers, emergency beacons, flotation devices and life rafts. In case you fall over the side of the boat, a floatation device could save your life. This is twice as important if you are with kids. No matter how good you are at swimming, you should always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Remember, rough waters aren’t easy to swim in.

Take sailing and safety classes
Some states require that you take a sailing course, earn a safety certificate and get a boating license. Check your state for specific rules and regulations. Boating courses can help you avoid serious accidents, and teach you what to do in an emergency. You shouldn’t operate a boat if you are ill equipped or unready. Even experienced sailors can get into trouble on the water. Be ready for all kinds of weather. Never go on the water if you expect bad weather.
Count on boat limits
Every boat has its own safety limits based on the weight and size of the objects inside. Find out what your safety limits are. They will determine how much weight and how many people you can have on board. Never overload the boat – it could cause you to capsize. Be sure to learn the distance it takes for your boat to come to a complete stop. It can save lives.
Make sure that passengers behave
Safety is everybody’s responsibility. Before leaving the dock, make sure everyone knows where all safety equipment is located and what protocol should be used if you hit rough waters. Also, try to limit onboard alcohol consumption. The more inebriated a passenger is, the more disoriented he or she will be in an emergency.
Take it slow
Safe navigation includes keeping your speed under control. Don’t speed up if you are not sure you can maneuver your boat. A lot of accidents happen when people try to show off. Prevent accidents by keeping an eye out for any possible obstacles.
Check your health insurance. Waterways are powerful natural resources and can be dangerous, even if you are sailing safely. Sometimes you can’t prevent injuries. So, be prepared. Accidents happen, but you can lower your risk by boating safely and responsibly.
Boat Responsibly
Remember, just as in driving your personal vehicle, operating a vessel while under the influence is against the law. Operate your boat with a clear mind. Leave the partying to those not responsible for the safe operation of your vessel. DUI’s are just as prevalent on the open waters and marinas as they are on the streets and highways. Be responsible.
Speed Limits inside the breakwaters
Remember to obey the speed limits while inside the breakwaters. Usually 5 – 10 knots is customary. Remember the right of way rules for boating. Courtesy on the water and inside the breakwater is essential for good boating etiquette.

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