One simple thing saves the most boaties’ lives – wearing a lifejacket.
It really is that simple. Tragically, two-thirds of recreational boating fatalities would be avoided by wearing a lifejacket.
When you are on the water make sure everyone has the right sized lifejacket and make sure they wear it – and that means children wear a child-sized lifejacket.
Three other simple things to do to keep safe on the water are:
Two ways of comms
Take two waterproof ways to call for help – if you can’t tell someone you are in trouble, you can’t be rescued. If one of the two devices is your cellphone, keep it in a waterproof bag.
Check the weather
Before you go out, always check the weather forecast. If you are going to be on the sea make sure it is a marine forecast. Land and general forecasts do not take into account wind speed over water (which is double that over land), or the waves or swell. If you hear wind speed in km/hr, then you are listening to the wrong forecast. Got your cellphone? Then check out the clever MetService Marine app.
Leave the booze at home
Avoid alcohol. Did you know it is common for Kiwi boaties (all blokes) to fall over board when having a pee after drinking? It is funny, sort of, until you realise they could not get back onboard without help and some of them drowned. As a skipper, you’re responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone on board your boat, however big or small it is or they are. Look after your buddies and your loved ones.