There are many ways that you can have fun while safe boating. Whether you plan on fishing, participating in water sports, or just hanging out with your family and friends, a day on the water can be a memorable one. But boating is a lot like driving on the road. While it’s encouraged to have fun, you should always be mindful and respectful of others.
Especially on a warm weekend, there are bound to be quite a few other people boating. This makes following safe boating practices of the utmost importance. Understanding safe boating, being mindful of where you are steering, and showing respect to those sharing the water, will ensure you enjoy your boating experience.
Show Respect To Other
If you use common sense and good judgement while boating, you’re much more likely to avoid any potential accidents. Being courteous and practicing responsible boating habits will ensure that everyone in the water, boaters, non-boaters, and wildlife, will remain safe.
Part of being respectful on the water is being aware of how your actions affect others. While you may like the sound of your boat or the splash of your wake, this may negatively affect others. And much like on the road, when all boaters show respect for each other and get along, they are likely to boat safer.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just boats that you should be aware of. If you can, try to stay a respectful distance away from shoreline homes, waterfowl nesting areas, fishermen, swimmers, and any populated beaches.
Know The Rules
Knowing and obeying the rules of the water is the surest way to stay safe and enjoy your boating adventure. Speed limits and wake zones aren’t there to spoil your fun, but to ensure that everyone stays safe and enjoys their time on the water. While there are more populated areas where safe boating must be enforced, there are other areas where you’ll be able to speed up to enjoy other activities like water sports.
Steering To Avoid Collision
One of the most dangerous situations when boating is when two vessels come together. In these situations, knowing the right-of-way procedures is very important. When two vessels are converging on each other, the one with the right-of-way is called the “stand-on vessel” while the one that must give the right-of-way is called the “give-way vessel”. In these circumstances, the vessel with the right-of-way should continue its course and speed, unless it’s trying to avoid a collision. Maintaining your course and speed will also help the other vessel anticipate where you’ll be. These give-way vessels have the responsibility of staying out of the way of the stand-on vessel.
Know Your Navigation Signal
Navigation signals serve the purpose of helping people avoid collisions. Understanding the basics of these signals will ensure that you can safely navigate the more populated areas of the Indian River Lagoon. If you want to indicate your intention to change your direction to the starboard, or right, one short, one-second blast will announce that. Two short blasts will indicate your intention to move to the port side, or left. If you’re looking to go into reverse, three short blasts will make that indication.