No matter where you live, winter requires extra preparation when you’re eager to get out on the water. With colder air and water temperatures, it’s essential to have a safety plan in case of a boating emergency. Here are five tips that could save your life this winter. 

1. Wear a lifejacket.
Sure, they’re not very stylish. Or maybe you’re a strong swimmer, and you don’t think you need one. Whatever the case for your resistance, remember that it’s much easier to be prepared for the worst than to scramble for a lifejacket at the last second. Make sure your lifejacket fits properly and inflates correctly. Wear it at all times. 

2. Have a solid method of communication.
On a boat, you should have a marine-brand VHS radio and a handheld GPS. This will allow you to call for help and report your location. Don’t rely on your cell phone, as they don’t always have service in the areas you might be visiting on your boat. 

3. Dress for the water temperature.
Even when it’s 70 outside, the water temperature can be near freezing. Wear the proper clothing to keep you warm in the worst case scenario.

4. Stay aware.
When you’re on a boat, you should always be aware of what’s happening around you. Keep an eye on the weather, the boat’s location, and the fellow boaters in your vicinity. Having good situational awareness can prevent a bad situation from getting worse. 

5. Never boat under the influence.
Always have a designated boater when you’re heading out on the water. The safety of your passengers depends on it!