Every year, I hear about someone who had a boat accident that just didn’t have to happen. Why don’t people use common sense when they’re getting into their motorboats? Anyone who owns or operates a boat should know you need to take a boating course, keep on the lookout for buoys, check the weather reports, skip the booze and stay alert. But there are three other extremely important safety elements that are neglected time and again.

According to the 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, the Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths. The most common types of vessels involved in accidents were open motorboats on vessels less than 21 feet.
Most of these deaths were from drowning, and 84% of these victims were not wearing a life jacket.

You wouldn’t think of going in a car without buckling your seatbelt, so why not keep yourself safe on a boat, too?

The second element that boaters need to be aware of is speeding. Unlike a motor vehicle, a boat does not stop nor turn quickly. Being aware of your speed is essential when you’re on the water. It’s a good idea to use a speedometer that is easily visible in bright sunlight. (PowerboatGuy and FishermanGuy by Lakewiz, are iPhone apps that have an excellent speedometer).

Finally, don’t text and pilot your boat. If you are using a mobile boating app, begin the app before you leave the dock.

Don’t leave your common sense on land the next time you take your boat out for fun!