There are many elements to take into consideration when planning a trip out on the water. Some things may seem like common knowledge when it comes to boating safety, but the truth is, often there are several safety checks that are overlooked. To ensure the safety of everyone out on the water, MPI has put together a safety checklist that can be used as a guideline to follow each and every time before heading out for a day on the water.
It is essential to check each of the items listed below in order to avoid any preventable problems while out on the water. Here are the first safety checks to perform:
- Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) – This is a radio transmitter that is used to locate vessels. In the event of an emergency, the transmitter is activated and sends a continuous radio signal so that a vessel in trouble can be located as quickly as possible. This is something that every boat should be equipped with. While it may seem extreme, this piece of equipment could be the difference between life and death.
- Depth Finder – Make sure that your depth finder is working properly. You do not want to run into any water that is too shallow for your vessel. This could not only cause significant damage to your boat, but you and the others on board could find yourselves stuck. Additionally, if you are traveling at a higher speed, there is a chance that people could go overboard if shallow waters come up too quickly to avoid.
- Radar – Ensure that the radar system onboard is up to date to avoid any problems. Perform several tests regularly to confirm functionality.
- Updated Electronics – If your onboard electronics are not up to date, you could run into problems due to the fact that they are not able to communicate properly with one another. Keeping all of your onboard electronics updated is imperative in ensuring a safe boating experience. Make sure to download any available updates regularly, and definitely prior to heading out on the water.
- Life Raft – Every vessel should have a functioning life raft that can accommodate everyone on board. Emergency situations arise, and you will need to make sure everyone on board can be quickly and safely transferred to a life raft if need be.
- Life Jackets – This is an important safety check that is often partially overlooked. While out on the water, many people do not wear life jackets for the entire ride. However, if you are taking additional passengers on your boat, you need to make sure that you have a functioning and appropriate life jacket for everyone on board. If there are children and adults, the correct sizes need to be on board. Having a life jacket for each passenger onboard is essential.
While these are the major safety checks to perform before heading out on the water, you should also have your own overall safety checklist for your vessel. It is important to have a list of checks, in addition to those listed above, that you perform each time before enjoying a day out on the water. Of course, these checks will vary depending on your own individual boating location and conditions.
Owning a boat is an enjoyable experience, but also comes with a great deal of responsibility. As the captain, it is your job to do what you can to protect your boat and the safety of everyone on board at all times. By taking the proper precautions and consulting this checklist before heading out on the water, you can ensure you are doing your part in prioritizing the safety of everyone on board. If you are unsure of any checks that should be done or have any questions, feel free to contact the marine professionals at MPI.