5 tips to stay safe on the water this year

Boat safety tips

It’s no secret that getting out on the water is possibly the best thing ever. However, before you hop on board your favorite floating vessel, either as a boat owner or passenger, it’s important to get your ducks in a row.

Staying safe may seem like common sense, but the fact is the U.S. Coast Guard sees thousands of people injured and hundreds killed every year while boating.

So keep the following tips in mind for smooth sailing – because TwinStar is dedicated to the well-being of our members. We want you to have fun and stay safe!

Learn the rules of the road

Most boating accidents occur due to error, so take a boating course to reduce your risk. Not to mention, it’s mandatory to complete a course if you’ll be operating a motorboat over 10 horsepower in Oregon, 15 horsepower in Washington.

Check out www.boatus.org for a free online boating course approved for both states.

Know your limit

Designate a sober skipper! Just like driving a car, it’s illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater. Plus, any observed impairment while operating a boat, including marijuana or prescription drugs, can lead to citation and arrest.

Passengers are allowed to drink, but take care not to over-serve and endanger the safety of your fellow boaters.

Channel the scouts

By that, we mean be prepared and aware. For example, boaters are at a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from engines, appliances and grills. Other risks include fire (keep one or more fire extinguishers on board) and hypothermia (when out in cold water, dress for the water temperature not the air temperature).

Visit www.uscgboating.org for more boating safety concerns and to download the U.S. Coast Guard mobile app.

Radio is king

A very high frequency (VHF) radio is an essential piece of equipment for any boating vessel. You might think you’re covered with your mobile phone, but remember that phones rely on cell towers and generally aren’t waterproof. VHF radios are go-to devices for alerting emergency services, as well as communicating with other vessels and people on land.

Log on to www.navcen.uscg.gov for a full list of VHF channels and frequencies.

To wear or not to wear

An estimated 80% of boating deaths could have been prevented with life jackets. If you’re thinking, “But I can swim!” – consider the how quickly most accidents happen and how unlikely your chances are of grabbing a life jacket when you need it most. If you’re in rough or freezing water, injured, knocked unconscious or wearing waterlogged clothing, a life jacket could make all the difference.

And remember: By law, children 12 and under must wear age-appropriate life jackets at all times.