If you’re part of the vast recreational boating movement here in North Carolina, it’s important that you’re intimately familiar with boating safety and have learned the most critical safe boating tips. Hopefully this short article will provide you with some of the important information you can use to stay safe on the water.

With about 11 million recreational water craft out on US waters, recent Coast Guard statistics (2017) report nearly 4,300 annual boating incidents, resulting in 2,629 injuries and 658 deaths. 76% of these boating deaths were the result of drowning and 84% of these victims were found to not be wearing life jackets. The wearing of life jackets is an essential ingredient in boating safety, whether you’re in a motorized craft, a canoe, rowboat or kayak. Life jackets are also important safety equipment for those being pulled behind a boat such as water skiers, tube riders or wake boarders. Even strong swimmers should still wear a life jacket when boating.

Other Important Safety Tips for Boaters

  1. Life jackets should be U.S. Coast Guard approved and should fit properly for your size and weight.
  2. The National Safe Boating Council highly recommends that you take the National Association of Boating Law Administrators safety course.
  3. Be prepared for any boating emergency by having a fully stocked boat safety kit on board. Items should include: flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, duct tape, water-proof whistle, signal mirror, fire extinguisher, cellular phone, plastic garbage bags and rope.
  4. Use a pre-departure checklist to ensure everything you need is onboard and that your boat is in proper order.
  5. Always check out both the weather and water conditions of your proposed route and destination before leaving on an outing.
  6. Use common sense when driving your boat. Observe safe speeds, stay alert and steer clear of larger vessels that may have difficulty in stopping or turning.
  7. Be mindful of the dangers of carbon monoxide and aware of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
  8. When towing a skier, always have a safety lookout watching that person.

Boat Insurance

Although boat insurance isn’t required by North Carolina law, some marinas may require it if you want to use their mooring facilities. If you’re financing the purchase of your boat, your lender will require full, comprehensive insurance to protect their financial interests. Liability protection is also important in case you cause injuries or property damage to others while operating your boat.