Pontoon Boat Safety Tips

infographic_wireframe_manitou_martch2015_2

As the winter begins to fade in the rearview mirror and summer approaches, now is the perfect time to brush up on safety tips for your pontoon boat. It is important to make safety your top priority so that you can enjoy your time out on the water and ensure that everyone onboard is risk free. Make sure to have an ample amount of life jackets on your pontoon, because more than 80 percent of people who die in boating accidents are drowning victims.

Don’t forget that it is illegal to operate your pontoon while under the influence, and keeping your attention on the water and other boats is essential. In California, alone, more than 50 percent of boating accidents occur when one boat crashes into another. Here are some other important safety tips:

  • Make sure passengers are seated and wearing proper safety gear before leaving the dock.
  • Use the anchor when you want to remain stationary.
  • Avoid excessive speed and sharp turns.

These tips and other will help you stay safe out on the water when enjoying your pontoon.

The Ultimate Pontoon Boat Safety Checklist

infographic_wireframe_manitou_july2015-01

Taking your pontoon boat out on the water is one of the best ways to spend your time during the summer. There is nothing better than relaxing with friends and family while beating the heat on your pontoon. However, it is also important to ensure that everyone aboard remains safe so that you can avoid accidents and injuries. Last year alone there were over 4,000 recreational boating accidents, with a total of 610 deaths, including 97 injuries aboard pontoons. These happened due to a number of reasons, including alcohol, speeding, and negligence.

In order to avoid accidents and injuries, be sure to compile a safety checklist that includes all of the equipment you need in case of emergency. Ensure your pontoon has a fire extinguisher, ring buoy, and first aid kit so that you are prepared. In addition, perform routine maintenance on your pontoon so that the engine, navigation lights, and other systems run smoothly. Before you next take out your boat, consider compiling a safety kit that includes items such as a pocket knife, radio, battery charger, and more.

Boating Safety Tips

Heading out for a day on the lake is an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. As you float on the water, you can sit back and relax after a hard week at work, or you can focus on getting active and having some water fun. Unfortunately, that relaxing and fun day on the water can quickly turn into a nightmare when disaster strikes. If you’re planning to head out on your boat, be sure to follow these boating safety tips to help prevent accidents on the water.

In order to help prevent an accident from occurring during your outing, you need to be a smart boater. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and the rules, make it a point to discover what you need to know in order to have a fun and safe time. You’ll also want to make sure your boat is ready for an outing. A great way to do this is to perform regular safety and maintenance checks so you can spot any problems before they start. Safe boaters also make sure they have the equipment needed for an outing. This includes food, supplies, and safety devices that might be needed for the trip.

Once you’re on your boat, remember to stay alert and focused, just like you would on the road. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can increase your chances of getting into an accident, and, if you’re caught, you can face the same charges as you would if operating a vehicle. Encourage your passengers to follow safety procedures, especially young children. By preparing your boat and following these tips, you’re ready to have a fun and safe boating experience!


Boating Safety Tips

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

Stranded on a Boat

stranded on boatWhether you’re just a few miles off the coast or smack dab in the middle of the deep blue, it’s important to know what to do as a stranded sportsman or leisurely boater. Day or night, on an ocean or lake, in cold temperatures or hot, there are measures you can take to ensure your comfort, and even survival, if stranded at sea. We believe boating safety is important for everyone to understand. Whether you’re an avid boater or only occasionally find yourself on the water, read these tips to ensure that you and your boat will be prepared in the event of disaster.

The first step in preparing for a possible boating disaster is to make sure your boat is running properly and that you have necessary safety precautions onboard. Continue reading “Stranded on a Boat”

How to Send a Distress Call

How to send a distress callSending a distress call is a call for help during an emergency situation by a mariner of a vessel. A distress call is considered a main priority by the US Coast Guard above all other transmissions. This means that when a mariner hears a distress call, he shall cease all transmissions that may interfere with the distress message and continue to listen to the call. Continue reading “How to Send a Distress Call”

Firework Boating Safety

One of the perks of owning or having access to a boat is that you have front row seats for firework displays. Many people gather each year to be dazzled by firework shows on the open water. Because the 4th of July festivities are right around the bend, we thought we’d give you a refresher on how to safely and legally enjoy this holiday aboard your boat. Here are some general tips for boating safety during firework displays. Continue reading “Firework Boating Safety”

Boating Pet Safety Accessories

Boating is an activity that the entire gang can enjoy so why not include the family pet on your next boating excursion? Even better, bring your furry friend along on your next fishing trip-that is if they promise not to scare the fish away. Grab boating pet accessories for your pooch to participate safely:

Doggy Boat Ladder

Most dogs don’t mind a dip, but getting them back on the boat can be a challenge and is often dangerous for your dog and you. Cue Doggy Boat Ladder from http://pawsaboard.com/. The Doggy Boat Ladder attaches to the back of boats making it simpler for your pup to get back on board safely. Continue reading “Boating Pet Safety Accessories”

Cautionary Tales in Boating Safety: Part 4

Richard VanDermark

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jaako

If there’s anything Navigation Officer for Greenwood Lake Police Department Richard VanDermark is eager to share with others, it’s that his own life was saved because he was wearing a life jacket.

On a warm August day, he was tubing with his grandchildren on Greenwood Lake and his son-in-law was at the controls of his pontoon boat. As he was pushing his granddaughter up onto the deck of the boat after tubing, he slipped, hit his face on the deck, and fell back into the water.

“The next thing I remember was my son-in-law doing CPR on me,” he said.  “When I woke up things were foggy but I do remember I could not breathe very well, [I was] making loud wheezing sounds and looking at my terrified grandchildren.”

After his near death experience, he looks at life a lot different, he said. There is a fine line between life and death and all the little things count.

Image courtesy of the National Safe Boating Council

When speaking to individuals that refuse to wear life jackets, VanDermark said he shares his personal experiences about pulling bodies out of the water. Those people would not have drowned had they been wearing life jackets.

He said he always wears his life jacket on and off duty to promote a positive image to other people. He strongly supports the Wear It! campaign and would like to see New York law changed so that everyone must wear life jackets, not just those under 12 years old.

“If I was not wearing my life jacket I would not be here today to share my experience with others,” he said.

Another memorable experience VanDermark had was when he was on patrol and came across a paddle boat containing two young children that were not wearing life jackets. Because they said they did not have any, he gave them two life jackets from the patrol boat.

Later on, he said a thunder and lightning storm arose and his mind went back to the children. After responding to their location, he found their boat sinking and them in the water. He was able to pull the children into his boat, hook up the paddle boat, and return to shore safely.

“If I did not give the children [life jackets] they would have certainly drowned,” he said. “Everything turned out okay. That was a good day.”

 

Boating Safety Tips: Part 2

We’ve chatted with a few people and asked what they believe the most important boating safety tips are. Here’s input from another person we spoke with:

Carolyn Stuberg, Founder and Executive Director of Alexandria School for Nannies

Stuberg said she has her skipper’s license and she owns three boats and a wave runner. Boating safety is taught at the school for nannies and the lake house.

  • No children under 12 years old are allowed on the dock or in a boat without a life jacket
  • Children’s life jackets must have collars with handles in case they fall into the lake. The vests must also have crotch straps and be approved by the United States Coast Guard
  • Anyone using a wave runner must know how to swim
  • No one without a skipper’s license is allowed to drive a wave runner or boat
  • Those with skipper’s licenses must carries copies with them in a waterproof bag
  • All persons being pulled behind the boat must have a spotter
  • All spotters and riders must know the correct hand signals
  • No barefoot wave riding
  • No alcoholic beverages on the boat
Image courtesy of the National Safe Boating Council

Lastly, Stuberg said safety checks are mandatory before anyone takes out a boat or wave runner. All safety items including fire extinguishers and correct number of life jackets must be present.

 

Cautionary Tales in Boating Safety: Part 3

Bonnie Russell

Image courtesy of Flickr user Gerald Davison

Bonnie Russell, an independent legal publicist, still remembers her first day sailing years ago – the day she fell overboard into the San Francisco Bay without a life jacket.

Although she had her wisdom teeth removed the day before, she said she was invited by friends to go sailing on the first day of winter and accepted their offer. She spent the first little while sleeping, but later that afternoon she felt better and decided to pose for some pictures.

While posing, Russell said a sudden wave emerged and slapped the side of the boat, causing her to lose her balance. She quickly tried to grab the boom to hang on, but missed it by inches.

“Going over the stanchion backwards, as I looked at the water I remember thinking, ‘Oh boy – this is going to be cold,’” she said.

After she surfaced, she said she instinctively began swimming toward the boat. However, it was gaining quite a bit of distance from her and she quickly realized she would drown if she kept trying to go after it. Although someone was spotting her, they forgot to throw a life ring to her.

Russell said the wind began to pick up and she saw the sail on the boat coming down as they turned the motor on. All that was on her mind was a story her friend in the Coast Guard told her about snagging a shark in the bay while fishing.

“I focused on floating as high up in the water as possible, and not panicking as I wondered how far into the Bay sharks came,” she said.

Russell said a man that liked her jumped overboard and attempted to rescue her despite the disapproval from the rest of the boaters on board. Because he had been drinking, she refused his offer to save her and swim to Berkeley.

Her rescuer ended up being a friend who was actually on the boat, she said. Once they caught up to her, she tried to climb up the ladder and was pulled on board. The entire rescue effort took about eight minutes.

“Everyone commented how small I looked in the water,” she said.  “I was too cold too unzip my parka, and wasn’t talking much as my teeth were chattering at a pretty good clip.”

Russell said the man that jumped in after her made it back onto the boat, but he was in shock and partly hypothermic. Later on the friends discovered a photo that was taken of the man jumping overboard and one of the other men on board shouting “NO!”

Although she said she still sails, Russell offers two basic rules she learned from that day. One, don’t swim after the boat. Two?

“Remember it’s the guy in the boat who will save you, not the guy who jumps in the water,” she said.