Boating is a big part of water safety. Whether you are on a jet ski or a cruise ship, there are some basic rules that everyone should know. If you are heading out on the open water, it pays to take some extra precautions. Today, we are exploring some basic pontoon boat safety tips.
Pontoon boating is a lot of fun, and it is a great way to share the waves with friends and family. Truly, this is great news. That said, pontoon boating safety starts with careful planning and forethought. Read on to learn a bit more about this fun water sport.
What is a Pontoon Boat?
The first step of pontoon boat safety is learning what actually makes a pontoon boat! On the whole, these popular boats tend to be flat and rectangular. They are often quite spacious and can house a surprising number of passengers.
Here is a photo of a sample pontoon boat:
There are many varieties of this craft, but they are all designed for inland waterways. In most situations, you won’t be hitting the high seas in a pontoon boat. Specifically, most people consider them a lake boat.
Most of the time, they are designed with maximum buoyancy in mind. This helps to cuts down on a lot of the choppiness of the water and offers plenty of room. To this end, pontoon boats are often also considered party boats. Some models can feature special luxuries like lounge chairs, slides, pools and more. It truly is a versatile craft.
Take a Boating Safety Course to Start
Now, just because a pontoon boat is designed to be stable doesn’t mean it always will remain steady. Weather conditions, debris and rocks can play havoc with any watercraft. In this case, pontoon boat safety begins with taking a boating safety course
Boating may seem pretty intuitive, but the fact is that you can never be too prepared. After all, if you are taking others out on the water, their safety becomes your responsibility. Proper safety education can save lives. Taking a professional course can teach valuable rules, including the pontoon boat safety regulations designed to prevent tragedies.
Besides taking a course, it is important that passengers know your ground rules. To start, make sure everyone onboard knows to keep their hands and arms inside the pontoon boat at all times. Additionally, have them keep an eye out for potential hazards or debris. There are far too many boating accidents that occur each year because no one was paying attention.
Being certified in CPR is a great water safety precaution. That’s true for boating or simply swimming in a pool. Being certified in CPR can help a person know exactly what to do when tragedy strikes. In case of an accident while on your pontoon boat, it pays to have as many people as possible trained in CPR. In a pinch, this could save a life.
Check the Weather Report
Before heading out, there are still a few more basic rules for pontoon boat safety. First, everyone should be wearing a U.S. Coast Guard certified life jacket
at all times. That goes for adults as well as children. These floatation devices offer the best protection available for boaters and swimmers alike.
Additionally, don’t forget to file a float plan. Before you leave for the day, be absolutely sure that someone knows where you’ll be, and for how long. This plan should include your vehicle and boat details. If something happens, it is good to know that someone will know to contact the authorities.
Finally, be sure to check the weather report. On the open water, hitting unexpected turbulence can turn a relaxing day into a nightmare. It could flip the boat, and dump you and your crew into the ocean. In the event of a lightning storm, this could even add a risk of electric shock. If there’s a chance of a storm warning, it’s probably a good idea to reschedule your boat outing.