May 19-25 is National Safe Boating Week. Led by the National Safe Boating Council, the annual campaign aims to promote safe boating practices and encourage boaters to always wear a life jacket.
Boating has been a fundamental part of the ITC culture since we were founded in 1982, only minutes from Lake Michigan. One of the first ITC products was a stainless-steel ski tow and we continue to provide a number of products to marine manufacturers around the country. ITC courtesy and functional lights provide added safety features to boats, but there is still a lot of responsibility left to individual boaters.
At ITC, we believe that the best way to stay safe on the water is to be informed. As you’re taking your boat out of storage and getting ready to head out onto the lake for the first time this season, don’t forget to remind yourself of the safe boating practices we have outlined below.
Be prepared. It is vital to make sure that you, your passengers and your vessel are prepared for each and every outing. Taking a boating safety course will provide you with a foundation of operator and safety information. Keep a pre-departure list (see our example) and use it before every trip.
Wear your life jacket. Life jackets have evolved over the years. You no longer have to maneuver around a bulky, uncomfortable life jacket. There are numerous styles and fits to fit a range of boating activities. Regardless of which life jacket style you prefer, there must be one life jacket for each passenger aboard. The regulations regarding children and life jackets vary by state. In Michigan, anyone under 6 years of age is required to wear a life jacket at all times. To view the regulations in your state click here.
While the law doesn’t require all boaters to wear a life jack at all times, it is always recommended—no matter how skilled of a swimmer you are. 2/3 of drowning victims are good swimmers and 83% of victims are not wearing a life jacket (learn more).
Don’t drink and boat. Boating while under the influence doubles the probability of an accident occurring and is the leading factor in fatal boating accidents. The sun and motion from the water can accelerate the rate of impairment. Impaired operators have a reduced reaction times, less coordination and compromised vision.
Alcohol consumption lowers body temperature, increasing the chance of hypothermia. Impairment slows the time in which your brain can process information which can lead to confusion and disorientation while in the water. Caution should be used even if you will not be operating the boat.
Boating while impaired is illegal in all 50 states. Make sure you always boat responsibly.
National Safe Boating Week is just before Memorial Day weekend, but safe boating practices are something to keep in mind any time you are on the water.
Learn more about National Safe Boating Week and the Safe Boating Campaign here.
Download our pre-departure list.