By Greg Kopf, Brand Ambassador at BOATiD.com: Summer is upon us and it’s time to prepare for something we know and love – boating season! Before embarking on your boating journey, it’s important to be mindful of a few safety and maintenance tips.
Maintaining your boat in the off season is the first step in ensuring summer fun. But to ensure your boat is ready for the lake, here are a few quick tips:
- Make sure the engine runs! Check and ensure all fluid levels are filled and run the engine in your driveway on a fresh water supply.
- With the engine running check for any issues, including water leaks, odd engine noises, engine fluid leaks, and even exhaust/gasoline fume leaks.
- Inspect all linkages and other hull functions such as the steering linkage, throttle linkage, trim function, and bilge pump.
- Once the boat is in the water for the first time let the engine run at the dock and double check the function of all systems before departing.
- If you are trailering your boat to the lake, ensure that the lights on the trailer work, tires are inflated to the correct pressure, and all wheel bearings are tight before driving.
- If you still have trouble launching your boat and don’t know proper etiquette, you may want to get a better idea of what you should be doing and are being fair to fellow boaters. Practicing backing up your boat trailer in an empty parking lot is a good way to prepare yourself for the boat ramp this summer.
Before each trip, ensure all necessities are onboard. In the event of an emergency, it’s important to do your part and be as prepared as possible. Here are a few helpful reminders when it comes to safety preparation:
- Always carry the appropriate safety gear on board – which includes a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, life vests, anchor, and a set of oars. Definitely conduct a final check to ensure you have all of the necessary items on boards. For additional information, learn more about what is needed for your specific vessel.
- Make sure you’re meeting Coast Guard requirements at all times. Your boat must be updated with the correct registration and paperwork. You also must be able to show proof of safety gear and are required to display a registration sticker – in addition to your state-issued certificate of number on each side of the boat in contrasting colors. For boats over five tons, a federally documented title needs to be registered with the Coast Guard.
- While this may sound obvious, use common sense and follow the rules of the water that you were taught. Most boating accidents occur because of operator inattention and improper lookout according to USCG accident statistics – being aware is extremely crucial when operating a boat!
- It’s very important to not overload your boat with passengers. Follow the recommended number of passengers allowed from the boat manufacturer to ensure optimal safety.
- Lastly, be mindful of your state’s latest guidelines surrounding social distancing rules
While those are helpful reminders, if you ever have a maintenance or safety related question, it’s better to be extra cautious and consult a professional. After you’ve taken the proper precautions for a smooth and safe trip, it’s time to have some fun and enjoy yourself! Whether you are fishing, partying or cruising, there is a lot you can do on a boat. For optimal comfort, don’t forget your favorite snacks and drinks. Keep in mind that if you’re bringing alcohol, the operator of the boat should not be drinking. To enhance your trip even more, there are many watersport activities you can bring aboard including, paddle boards, water skis and tubes. When fishing in a freshwater lake, you need to have your fishing license, as well as the correct tackle for freshwater (which is generally cheaper and comes in a wider variety!)
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If you’re an avid boater or just looking to try something new, boating is a great way to enjoy relaxing time alone or with friends and family. It is a great opportunity to escape reality for a day or weekend, and just relax and enjoy the beauty of nature around you. Before embarking on your trip, it is important to make checklists to ensure you won’t forget any crucial items. Overall, the most important thing to remember when on the lake – be safe and have fun!
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