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3 essential boating safety guidelines

Boating in the summer is a staple activity in Wisconsin. When the warm weather hits, it is time to go out on the lake. No matter how many times you have gone boating, it is always smart to review some boating safety guidelines before departing. 

According to the National Safety Council, there were 2,613 boating injuries and 626 fatalities in 2015. Here are some safety tips to follow to reduce your chances of getting in a boat accident:

1. Take necessary items on board

You need to bring certain gear on every boating trip, even if you are have been going to the same lake for years. Here is a basic checklist:

  • Life jackets
  • First-aid kit
  • Toolkit
  • Flares
  • Whistle
  • Horn
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Extra dock line
  • Marine VHF radio
  • Throwable floatation devices
  • Registration and certification

These items will make sure you are ready to respond to emergencies. Always check each item off the list, no matter how careful you may be on the water.

2. Wear a proper life jacket

You may assume that any life jacket will do the job, but that is not the case. Make sure that you and everyone onboard has a life jacket with U.S. Coast Guard approval. The life jackets should also be the right sizes for everyone and worn at all times. If your life jacket is stowed away, it will be useless if you get into an accident.

3. Watch out for drunk boaters

It is common sense to not boat under the influence. While you may avoid drinking alcohol, you can not trust that everyone else at the lake is doing the same thing. There are a lot of irresponsible boaters out there. If you notice a boater being rowdy or careless, do your best to stay away. The last thing you need is to get into a collision with a drunken boater. 

Bonus tip: Always remember that the U.S. Coast Guard will give you a free safety check at your convenience.

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