10 Essential safety tips when on the water

Every year emergency services respond the thousands of incidents, many of which are preventable if following some simple safety precautions.

  1. Get trained – a thorough knowledge of your activity and an appreciation of the possible risks are essential.
  2. Check your boat and equipment, because prevention is always better than cure. The RNLI offer a free SEA Check Service of your boat and can provide any safety advice you need.
  3. Before setting off check your engine and that you have adequate fuel to complete your trip as well as a reserve in case you encounter problems.
  4. Check the tides and weather forecasts before you set out and familiarize yourself with any local conditions.
  5. Ensure that you take some means of calling for help. For coastal waters a fixed DSC radio is recommended. If you choose a hand held ensure that it’s a waterproof model. Mobile phones are not reliable and flares are only a back-up to the radio.
  6. Always wear a lifejacket as they provide some thermal protection as well as keeping you afloat until rescue. Ensure there is a life jacket for everyone on board.
  7. Tell others where you are going and times of your departure and arrival. This will assist in alerting help and finding you quickly if you become overdue.
  8. Learn about first aid and always ensure that you have a first aid kit on board.
  9. Keep fire extinguishers on board, know how to use them and keep them readily accessible and maintained to the manufacturers specification.
  10. Remember alcohol or some medication doesn’t mix with boating and can seriously impair your judgement as well as accelerating the effects of hypothermia should you fall overboard.