Make a Big Splash by Avoiding a Crash

April 28, 2022 | by BMI Staff

The fourth week of May is Safe Boating Week, and there is no time like the early days of summer to brush up on our safe boating practices. Check out these tips before you set sail!

Get insured.

Before slipping your boat into the water and setting sail on the open sea, make sure it is insured against any potential hazard. All it takes is one event not covered by insurance to put a wrench in your otherwise relaxing lake day. 

Wear your life jacket.

A properly fitting, activity-appropriate life jacket is the absolute best line of defense against accidents on the water. Whether you are riding, swimming, skiing, or driving, always remember to wear your U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Accidents on or in the water occur often and quickly, with little to no time for reaching for that lifeline. In Missouri, one life jacket for every person must be on board, and children under the age of seven must wear a life jacket at all times, while boating. 

Know Missouri’s boating laws. 

In addition to life jacket laws, boat owners must be aware of and follow a variety of rules and regulations out on the water. Anyone born after January 1, 1984, must take and pass the Missouri Boater Education test prior to operating a boat on any of Missouri’s lakes. If you are exempt from that requirement, or if you could use a refresher on the state boating laws, visit the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Boating Laws and Responsibilities page for several educational resources. You may also register for safety education classes around the state, here.

Stock your boat. 

Speaking of laws, there are quite a few items you’ll need to stock your boat with prior to setting sail. In Missouri, some of those requirements include the aforementioned life jackets, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights. For a complete list of the required items in our state, check out this link. It is also recommended that boaters have first-aid supplies, a radio, and bucket for bailing water, among other safety items.

Dress to impress…your health and well-being. 

Sunny days may be a fun time to show off a cute outfit, but always make sure to check the weather and bring additional layers if possible. Missouri weather can be rather extreme, occasionally taking you from sweltering heat to chilly rain, all within a day. Also consider wearing a swimsuit cover-up or a t-shirt to protect your skin from the sun while on the boat, and don’t forget a change of clothes!   

Know your boat’s capacity. 

An easy way to ruin a party is to invite too many people, and that is never truer than when on a boat. Be careful not to fill your boat with more people or things than it can carry. Verify your boat’s capacity to protect it against capsizing. 

Have fun.

We know that reading all about the laws and requirements that go into owning and operating a boat can be daunting, but once you have mastered the mechanics and legality of it all, don’t forget why you bought your boat in the first place! Enjoy the open sea knowing that you have put time and energy into protecting your asset and all of the passengers aboard.