Boating Tips

Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating and fishing.

Approximately 80% of boating fatalities in the U.S. are caused by drownings. Most of these drownings would not have occurred if the boater had been wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Alcohol and boating don't mix.

The Coast Guard reports that more than 50% of drownings from boating accidents involve alcohol. If you use alcohol while boating, the consequences are very much like those of drinking when driving a car.

Develop a float plan.

Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. This is important because if the boat is delayed because of an emergency, becomes lost or encounters other problems, you want help to be able to reach you.

Know local weather conditions and prepare for an electrical storm.

Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming or boating as soon as you see or hear a storm.

Carry basic safety equipment.

Regardless of the type of boat, carry basic safety equipment - life jackets for each person on board; a throwable personal floatation device; tow line; extra paddle/oar; a bailing device; a distress signal (whistle); fire extinguisher and first aid kit.


Copyright 1998 The American Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.