This is an excerpt from the Compass, October of 2012, United States Power Squadrons.
Although most boating accidents occur during the summer, the potential for serious injury soars in the offseason when fewer boaters and law enforcement officers are on the water to provide assistance or rescue.
U.S. Coast Guard 2011 national accident data show that approximately one in 10 boating accidents in July involved a fatality; in December that number was just over one in four.
- Dress in layers and take along extra clothing in a waterproof bag. Consider wearing a float coat or jacket.
- Wear quality non-slip footwear; wear socks, even with sandals.
- Take along a well-stocked first-aid kit.
- Put together a basic survival kit that includes blankets, a VHF marine radio, matches, a disposable lighter, dense-calorie food, and warm beverages such as coffee or cocoa.
- File a float plan. Tell friends and family exactly where you’re going and when you plan to return.
- Boat with at least one other person; two is better. If someone is injured or falls in the water, the other can summon assistance or help the person back on board.
- Consult a chart of the area where you’ll be boating. Know where to wait for help and how to summon help if you need it.
- Take a boating safety course as well as a first-aid and CPR course.