In order to avoid accidents at sea you must familiarise yourself with the safety-at-sea guidelines before you set out in a boat.
1 Think safety
Familiarise yourself with the boat, make sure you know how many people or the total weight it is capable of carrying. Remember that in small boats it is important to keep the centre of gravity low and to avoid standing up. Prepare in advance for potential unexpected incidents.
2 Bring all required equipment
Landing hook – makes it easier to get the fish into the boat
Oars – in case of engine failure
Anchor – use a small anchor to prevent the boat from drifting
Baling bucket – in case the boat springs a leak
GPS/map and compass – learn how to use this equipment
First aid equipment – in the event of injuries
3 Show respect for the weather and sea conditions
Check the weather reports before setting out in a boat and get information about local conditions that affect currents and shallow waters.
4 Comply with the safety-at-sea rules
The safety-at-sea rules regulate traffic at sea. According to these rules you must give way to boats approaching from starboard (right) and to boats you catch up with. Motor boats must give way to sail boats. Leisure boats must give way to commercial/working boats.
If you are within 50 metres of land your speed must not exceed 50 knots. Comply with local speed limits. Make sure you are visible at night. Avoid collisions and use lanterns.
Anyone born after 1/1/1980 must have a boat driving licence to operate a boat bigger than 8 foot or with an engine bigger than 25 hp.
5 Use a life jacket or boat suit
The law states that everyone on board must wear a life jacket; be particularly cautious with equipment for children.
6 Ensure that you are rested and sober
The alcohol limit is 0.08% while on board a boat. If you are rested and alert you will handle any unforeseen incident better.
7 Be considerate
We are all responsible for each other’s safety, welfare and the environment.