According to the U.S. Coast Guard:
- Someone is injured or killed in a boating accident every 2 ¼ hours.
- Every year there are 3,000 serious injuries and 600 deaths due to boating accidents.
How Can You Avoid Becoming a Statistic?
You already know that you should wear a life jacket and make sure your boat is stocked with important safety equipment. But if you are the driver, it’s a good idea to take a boating safety course before you set sail. Each state offers boat safety courses, many of which can be taken online for your convenience. In Missouri, you can get a Missouri Boating Safety Certification Card by passing the Missouri Boating Safety Course.
Check the Weather
When you plan your outing, make sure you know the weather forecast before you head out. It might look like a beautiful day is in store, but if storms are predicted for later in the day and you don’t know it, you may find yourself scrambling to get back to shore to avoid rough waters or lightening strikes.
If you forget to check the weather and you see clouds forming and/or hear thunder in the distance, head for the nearest place to dock your boat and take shelter, even if that’s not where you originally put your boat in the water. If your boat has a cabin, tell passengers to move to the cabin for their own safety.
Although these are suggestions to avoid causing a boating accident, it’s not an all-inclusive list or a substitute for boat safety training. And remember—there are other boaters out there who may not be following boating safety rules as diligently as you are or who may not have taken a boating safety course, so to ensure a safe and fun day on the water, watch what you’re doing and what others are doing.