As spring quickly approaches, many water lovers are getting ready to set sail on their boats, enjoy a nice swim, or go for a ride on their jet skis. For many, spring is a favorite season to head out into open waters as the weather is not too warm and storm season is still a ways away. However, spring also increases the odds of getting involved in a maritime accident.
Though some incidents can’t be entirely avoided, a large majority of maritime mishaps can be avoided. The best way to do so is by preparing for the season before it even begins. Here’s how to prevent a maritime accident this spring:
- Brush up on boating safety courses: If your passion is boating and you haven’t been keeping up with the latest updates on maritime laws, restricted areas, or speed limits, now would be a good time to take a boating safety refresher course. New legislation and maritime statutes are introduced regularly, which means that there’s a good chance you may have missed an important change or addition to your state’s maritime rules while you were curled up in a blanket by the fireplace and sipping hot cocoa during the cold winter months. Taking a refresher course prior to the start of the spring season affords you a good amount of time to learn about any new maritime regulations in the areas where you’ll be sailing. You can find out more about the courses offered in your state by visiting BoatUS.org. As an added perk, many courses are offered for free!
- Perform a thorough check of all maritime equipment: If you live in an area where winters are significantly cold – cold enough that you can’t go out for a sail, swim, or enjoy other water activities – be sure to properly inspect all maritime-related equipment, materials, and safety gear before use. Boats, jet skis, navigational devices, lines, and even life jackets should be checked for any malfunction, and if any parts are found to be worn down, rusty, or unsafe, replace them before you go out into the water. It’s also a good idea to make sure you update any first aid kits with fresh bandages, alcohol pads, and medicine, as well as any rations you might want to keep aboard your vessel.
- Take a CPR course: Though knowing CPR isn’t a requirement unless you plan on manning the helm of a commercial or passenger vessel, it can prove extremely valuable should you find yourself in a dangerous situation in open waters. Maritime traffic on waterways, lakes, and oceans increases significantly during the spring, which means there’s a greater chance of experiencing or witnessing a maritime accident. Learning CPR can not only help save the lives of your loved ones, but can also help save others in the event that you witness an emergency.
The return of spring means the return of an array of fun water activities for all ages. Yet, it can also mean that there’s a higher frequency of maritime accidents. By following these three simple tips ahead of time, you’ll find yourself a lot more prepared for what the open waters may bring by the time the season rolls around.