Boating Safety Tips

Injury Prevention boating and life jacket cartoonEach year, there are over 50 reportable boating accidents in Pennsylvania, and one-fifth of these result in death. More deaths occur from people falling off boats that are 16 feet long or less, and most individuals involved in fatal boating accidents were not wearing life jackets.

Alcohol is frequently involved in boating accidents, and people who hunt or fish from boats have one of the highest fatality rates of all boaters.

Safety Tips

  • Always have a properly fitted life jacket (also known as a personal flotation device – PFD) on board for each passenger. (See Life Jacket Safety Chart.) Make sure that anyone who cannot swim (especially children) wears a life jacket.
  • Never mix boating and alcohol.
  • Realize that accidents occur from falling off boats as well as from unsafe driving.
  • If you or your child fall into the water, leave your clothing on since it conserves heat.
  • Have emergency distress signals, both visual and broadcast, on board.
  • Know the boat’s capacity, and take care not to overload it.
  • Keep a constant eye on the weather.
  • Know your water terrain.
  • Take a safe boating course.
  • When approaching a dock or stationary object, approach very slowly.

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