10 essential safety tips when on the water
Every year emergency services respond to thousands of incidents, many of which are preventable if following some simple safety precautions.
- Get trained - a thorough knowledge of your activity and an appreciation of the possible risks are essential.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check the tides and weather forecast before you set out and familiarise yourself with any local conditions.
- 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. Flares are only a back-up to radio.
- Always wear a life jacket - they provide some thermal protection as well as keeping you afloat until rescue. Ensure there’s a life jacket for everyone on board.
- Tell others where you are going and times of your departure/arrival. This will assist in alerting help and finding you quickly if you become overdue.
- Learn about first aid and always ensure that you have a first aid kit on board.
- Keep fire extinguishers on board, know how to use them and keep them readily accessible and maintained to the manufacturer’s specification.
- 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.