As Southeast Texans, we love our water sports. When temperatures get hot, there’s nothing like cruising down the Neches, spending a lazy day fishing at the lake, or hitting the waves on your jet ski at Crystal Beach.
We’re itching to go just thinking about it – and we bet you are too! So without further ado, here are 17 Tips for Staying Safe on your Boat This Summer.
Before you Set Sail
- Take Boaters Education Course from Texas Parks and Wildlife. Make it a family activity!
- Share your “float plan” with a friend of family member. Let them know where you plan to go and about what time you’ll return.
- Give your boat a good inspection before getting on water. Check the engine, lights, look for any electrical issues, run the blowers, and test your radio / any community devices.
- Keep a close eye on the weather and review local boating forecasts.
- Don’t forget to check your fuel and fill up if necessary
What to Bring Aboard
- Personal flotation devices (PFD’s) or life jacks for you and each passenger.
- Boat Certificate and registration
- Towing policy paperwork (if you have one)
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency kit
Staying Safe on the Water
- Don’t try to pack people on your boat! Stick to the number that your vessel will safely allow.
- Avoid alcohol! We’re not trying to spoil your fun, but driving a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after drinking. The likelihood of you becoming involved in a fatal accident doubles.
- Be aware of your surrounding and take care in crowded areas.
- Use your common sense and operate at a safe speed. Although there are no speed limits, you can still get a citation.
- Designate a backup “captain” in case of emergency
- Turn off your engine while your passengers are loading / unloading for wakeboarding, tubing, waterskiing, or swimming
- Make sure your passengers are seated properly while your boat is in motion
Safe boating is a pretty complex topic. For more resources, check out Texas Parks and Wildlife, Travelers Insurance, and the U.S. Coast Guard sites. We wish you a safe and fun-filled summer out on the water!