Spring Break By the Water? Boat Safety Tips You Need to Know

Travel of children on water in the boatAs this middle of the school year is upon us, so too is spring break. Spring break is a popular time to travel or to just stay home and spend time with the family. Many families choose to spend time on the water. Here in south Florida, and I am guessing everywhere there is accessible water, the activity level on the water gets very busy during spring break and with an increased level in boating, comes an increased level of emergencies, most of which can be avoided. If you are planning to head out on the water this spring break season, please take the proper precautions.

Here is a list of the most common things we see when emergencies happen on the water:

  1. Please have a working knowledge of how to operate a water craft before heading out. The first time you operate your new boat or jet-ski should not be on a major water holiday with your family on board.
  2. Your water craft should be checked before putting it in the water. You don’t want to get stuck in the ocean with no gas, a radio that does not work, and no lights. Please do not boat at night unless you are an experienced boater.
  3. There are coast guard regulations as to what specific items may be required in your state, such as life jackets or flares, so make sure to have all the necessary gear. Every passenger should be wearing life jackets! ESPECIALLY KIDS!
  4. No texting and driving. This is not just a slogan for cars. This applies to watercraft as well. Texting and boating is being linked to more and more boating accidents.
  5. No drinking and driving. This is linked to more water accidents than anything else. I get it, it’s a holiday, you are enjoying yourself, but save the drinking for when you get to where you are going and have a designated driver if you have to drink. By the way boating under the influence or (BUI) is the same as DUI in many states so something else to think about before drinking and driving on the water.
  6. And finally: Slow Down! Boats can go just as fast as cars, are just as deadly as cars, and are 10 times harder to control. Please slow down and enjoy the ride and make sure you and your crew arrive and enjoy your time together.

There are many more things that go into boating safety. The bottom line is that most or all of the things we commonly see causing emergencies on the water are preventable and should be done beforehand or decided on before leaving the dock.

Please be safe and have a great spring break!

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


2 Responses to “Spring Break By the Water? Boat Safety Tips You Need to Know”

  1. Laurie says:

    Injuries can happen just as easily on the water as they can on the road. Great reminders that precautions need to be taken when driving a boat. Thank you for sharing!

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Thanks Laurie! It’s funny how we look at boating so differently than driving. I personally don’t spend a lot of time in boats, but still it would never have occurred to me to be concerned about BUI. And it certainly isn’t portrayed in the media as seriously as DUI (i.e. they show parties on boats all the time where people are drinking). Just one of the many reasons I’m grateful we have someone like Greg watching out for us! Thanks again Laurie for stopping by and leaving such a great comment! Come back anytime 🙂

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