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20 Top Tips On How To Stay Safe On The Water

Here at Vivaboats, we encourage everyone to get out on the water and enjoy themselves as much as they can. It's great fun, it's a good way of getting away from a computer screen and it can create some of life's best memories!

However,  everyone taking to the water should remember that boating can be very dangerous, whether you're an expert or beginner. There are certain , basic prinicples that anyone venturing out on a boat should consider and to ensure that your boating trips are nothing but plain sailing, we have compiled these into a concise list of 20 tips for you:
1) No matter how often you use your boat or trailer, always thoroughly check everything is in working order, every time, before use. It is essential to check lights, steering cables, fuel lines, tires, hitches and motors. If anything appears to be broken, get it checked before setting off.
2) Before leaving home, make sure your boat is fully stocked with everything you may need in an emergency. Fundamental equipment includes a fire extinguisher, a horn, paddles and also tools and spare parts (light bulbs, shear pins, etc).
3) Never take more passengers or equipment than your boat can handle. Avoid this problem by memorizing your boats capacity and ensuring that you check this just before setting off.
4) You should never head out on the water without reviewing the latest weather report. Although you can never fully predict what Mother Nature may throw your way, you will be less likely to be caught out and put yourself and others in danger. Remember, often the biggest storms start with a bright, sunny day.
5) Always make sure you notify someone staying on the land where you plan to take your boat and when you plan on returning. This way, if you do become stranded, someone should notice and notify the authorities. Not doing so can mean you are completely on your own if somethign happens out at water.
6) Make sure your tow vehicle has the capacity to move a loaded boat in the most testing of environments. The only way to do this is to never stray from the manufacturer’s towing guidelines. They are certianly there for a reason.
7) To ensure your boat is properly loaded and balanced, place 60 percent of your total cargo weight near the front. Always consider the extra weight added by gasoline also, which you should avoid filling the boat with until you reach the water.
8) Every time you stop towing the boat, make sure everything is safe and secure before starting again. If something is wrong, do not begin pulling the boat until the issue is fixed. This can cause a lot of damage otherwise.
9) Make sure you are fully prepared to launch as soon as its your turn in the line.
10) Before launching, never forget to insert your drain plug if your boat has one.
11) It may seem over cautious to some, but the best precaution to ensure yourself and your passengers are safe at all times is to make sure everyone wears a  lifejacket.
12) No matter where you are on the water, stay vigilant at all times for other boats, people in or by the water and any other potential obstacles. Remember the power of your engine.
13) Always stick to speed limits and drive safely, reckless driving can put others in danger and also cause a dangerous wake for other boats to cross.
14) You should never be on the water in very poor visibility, or at night without the appropaite lighting. Operating a boat in the dark can end in disaster.
15) Manage your fuel supply carefully. The best way to conserve fuel is to save one-third of your fuel for going out, one-third for returning and one-third for an emergency.
16) Never take your boat on off-limits water. These areas are forbidden because they can be extremely dangerous, without always obviously appearing so.
17) While the motor is running, make sure you have a kill switch on your person to be able to stop the engine if you fall in the water.
18) If you find yourself in trouble, alert the coast guard early on. Boating accidents are time critical and it's best for them to hear from you 'if the water is only at your ankles.'
19) If you're heading out on a boat in the winter, consider buying an immersion suit. They may seem a little pricey but you wouldn't be thinking about the cost if your boat started taking on water.
20) And last but not least, make sure you have fun!
Be sure to share your boating stories and photos with us over on Facebook for a chance for us to share them!
photo credit: ...staying afloat via photopin (license)