You might feel completely safe in your boat. With the sun shining on your face, the joyful sounds of children playing in the water, and low music crooning overhead…it’s hard to believe that anything could go wrong. However, boating accidents are more common than you think. Here are some tips to help keep both you and others on the water safe. 

1. Never drink and drive on the boat.
It only takes a split second to make a life-altering decision behind the wheel of a boat. Always stay sober when driving a boat. If you’re planning to drink, have a designated driver to navigate the boat back to the dock.

2. Make sure everyone wears lifejackets.
The majority of fatal drowning accidents happen amongst people who aren’t wearing lifejackets. Wearing a life jacket is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others while out on the water.

3. Take extra caution with small boats.
If you’re in a kayak or small motorboat, be cautious around bigger boats. They may have more difficulty seeing you. It’s also much easier to fall out of a small boat because of fast currents and large waves. 

4. Don’t ever speed.
Speeding increases your risk of crashing into another boat or struggling to slow down if you spot a dangerous obstacle. It’s often more difficult to slow down a boat than a car. 

5. Always pay attention to the environment.
Conditions can change quickly on the water. New boats appear, dangerous obstacles appear, the current changes, and shallow water approaches out of nowhere. These things can put your boat and your life in danger within seconds.

6. Take a boat safety course.
This course will teach you more about operating your boat, protecting your passengers, and how to follow basic boating rules and regulations. It’s extremely important that every boat driver take one of these courses to make sure they’re familiar with water traffic rules and what to do in case of an emergency.