Be Safe on the Water
Labor Day Weekend is upon us which means that thousands of people will be soaking in the last weekend of summer near the water. Many of these people will be spending their time on boats. It is important when you are on any type of watercraft (boats, wave runners, kayaks, and jet skis) that you are always using proper safety precautions.
General Tips on Staying Safe
In general it is important that you follow these safety tips when being on a watercraft or near water:
- Wear a properly fitted life vest. Not wearing a life vest is the #1 cause of drowning.
- Have a radio on board your vessel and make sure that your phones are charged and in waterproof housing. It is important to have easy access to communication to land in case of an emergency while out on the water.
- Fill out a US Coast Guard Float Plan (link here) and give it to a responsible person on land. This Float Plan contains all of you and your vessels identification information as well as where you are planning on being on the water in case the Coast Guard has to be sent out to search for you.
- DO NOT boat under the influence. Water and drugs/alcohol do not mix. It is illegal to operate a boat while being under the influence, but it is also not a great idea to be a passenger on a boat while under the influence.
Fires on Boats
Fires are rare on boats, but it is important that you are prepared in case one starts. It is important that you boat is outfitted with smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and gas leak indicators. These are important because they will alert you in the event of fire, carbon monoxide, or gas. Boats can be small and confined so you want to have as much time to get to safety as possible.
You should also have fire blankets and fire extinguishers onboard. These will allow you try and extinguish a small fire so it does not spread. Make sure that your fire blankets and extinguishers are in places that are easy to get to it. Also, make sure that everyone on board knows how to operate the equipment. If a fire is large and is unsafe to extinguish, then you must evacuate quickly.
Creating an Evacuation Plan
Make sure that everyone on board is aware of what your fire evacuation plan is. It is recommended that you:
- Know how to close emergency valves and switches.
- Have waterproof flashlights within reach.
- Don’t rely on cell phones for communication. They may not have signal, power, or be water damaged. Make sure that you have a waterproof radio that you can use to communicate with.
- Have properly fitted life vests for everyone on board.
- Do not block doors and hatches.
- Have a grab bag ready with emergency essentials.
Enjoy these last few days of summer and be safe out there!
-The IFS Team