Boating Safety

The Importance of Boating Safety

The majority of people will at some point in their life venture out on a boating excursion whether that is on a motor boat or out on a rowing boat. You may be going on a recreational trip, fishing, sightseeing, recreational activity or just to have a nice day out. However a seemingly harmless trip could quite easily turn bad if you do not take the correct precautions. Below there are a few tips to try and make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time boating.PFD

Wear PFD

PFD stands for Personal Flotation Devices. PFD are very important on all kinds of boating trips as even the most experienced of swimmers can find themselves in trouble if caught off guard. Therefore make sure and be prepared and wear your PFD. At least try to ensure your PFD are worn while there is bad weather, an emergency, low visibility, night time, when alone and whenever you are in unfamiliar waters. Children should always be wearing PFD if they are at any potential risk of going overboard. It is very important to ensure that all PFD fits correctly and that the user isn’t going to slip out of it.

 

Alcohol and Drugs

Like when driving a car, there is a much greater risk of an accident occurring if the operator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That is why most countries have a limit on the alcohol allowed in the blood while operating a boat.

If you are on prescription drugs there can be adverse effects on your body and you should always read the label of the drugs or consult your doctor to confirm whether it is safe or not.

Health

It may sound ridiculous but ensuring that any persons on a boat of any kind is not suffering from any illness is important just in case an emergency did arise and they had to be capable of looking after themselves.

Having a certain degree of fitness is also advisable on all kinds of boats but especially rowing boats. Rowing boats tend to be a lot smaller and are at greater risk of capsizing. Therefore ensuring the occupants of the boat are capable of rowing the planned distance is important. Rowing machines are a very common in all commercial gyms with most offering the best rowing machines on the market. So it may be worth getting some practice in before you head on a rowing boat.

Research

It is very easy to jump on a boat and go exploring. However it is advisable that you do your research on the area that you plan on venturing into as the water may look calm but some seas become very dangerous very quickly! You do not want to be caught in a rip tide that may catch you off guard.

If you do want to improve your fitness before heading out on the water then make sure and check out some rowing machine reviews as there is a big difference between certain machines that will improve your results.

 

What is a rip current?

A rip current also known as a “rip” is a kind of water current that is found near beach fronts. A rip refers to the narrow strong current of water that flows away from the beach. You can find a rip current anywhere there are breaking waves. It is very difficult to predict where the rip will form.

A rip current is formed when breaking waves force water into the shore and forms together creating a feeder current which flows perpendicular to the beach front. The feeder current will then find an area that it can head back out to sea, this is called the neck. A neck tends to be where the water is slightly deeper and is where the flow of water is most rapid. Once the rapid water in the neck reaches a point back out to sea beyond the breaking waves the water loses its power and disperses, this is known as the “head.” Some of this dispersing water may then be taken back into the shore.

The rapid water that you find in these “rips” is very dangerous and is the leading cause of lifeguard rescues. People often try to swim against the rip and find themselves struggling.

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How to Identify a Rip

It can be difficult to identify a rip current. However there are a few signs to watch out for that will help you to make an informed decision. Here are a few points to keep an eye out for:

  • A channel of choppy water
  • Frothy water that has been churned up and heading back out to sea.
  • Different colour of water slightly further out than the surf zone.
  • Broken wave pattern of incoming waves to the shore.

A rip current may show all of the above or none of them at all. That is what makes them very difficult to predict. On some beaches the lifeguards will put dye in the water to try and identify where potential rip currents are. This then means they can move the swimming zone to a safer location on the beach.

Not matter what activity you are doing whether you are simply swimming or on a rowing boat it is useful to be able identify a rip current and avoid struggling against a rip.

If you find yourself unsure of whether or not there is a rip tide, make sure to ask the lifeguard and they will gladly help you out.