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Top 10 boating safety tips for families this Father's Day

by Sea Tow Foundation 19 May 19:04 UTC
Boating safety tips by Sea Tow Foundation © Sea Tow Foundation

The Sea Tow Foundation created this list of 10 Boating Safety Tips that all families should follow, not just on Father's Day but all year long! These family friendly tips highlight the importance of involving kids in the boating safety fun, too.

1. Have a checklist. Before leaving the dock, have a pre-departure checklist to review all critical systems (i.e.: engine check, battery levels, fuel levels, etc.). You can even involve your kids in this process - check out the Sea Tow Foundation's First Mate Checklist!

2. Make sure everyone on board has a life jacket on that fits them properly - parents, that includes you too! You can find more information about how to properly fit a life jacket here.

3. Follow the rule of thirds. Be sure to have enough fuel to allow for: 1/3 of fuel to head to the destination, 1/3 of fuel to head back to the dock and 1/3 of fuel "just in case."

4. Check the charts. Review the intended voyage plan and be aware of sandbars, shallow areas, channel and buoy locations, etc., so your boat doesn't run aground and there are no surprises.

5. Carry extra lines and fenders. Both are needed when rafting up with friends or when tying up at a waterfront restaurant to enjoy a special Father's Day meal!

6. Dress in layers. Although the air temperature may be warm, the water may be very cold. Plus, breezes out on the water are often colder than they would feel on land. Dressing in layers allows you and your kids to add or remove clothing as the temperature changes.

7. Check the weather. Hopefully, everyone can enjoy sunny skies on Father's Day! But, before any boating trip, it is important to check the forecast. It is equally important to check on the weather forecast throughout the course of the day to make sure that the weather isn't going to change. Storms can quickly form over the water, especially in the warmer months, and it is best to be prepared instead of stuck fighting Mother Nature.

8. Designate a Sober Skipper. Before heading out on the water, someone that knows how to safely operate the boat should be chosen to be the Sober Skipper. His or her job is to ensure the safety of everyone on board and make sure all return safely to land at the end of the voyage. Take the pledge at

9. Keep it clean. The waterways are enjoyed by millions of people every year and thousands of species of fish live in the water, so it is important to keep the water clean. Don't throw any trash overboard, and don't allow any of your friends or family members to do so, either. If you see trash and can safely pick it up, please do so!

10. Be courteous. Boaters should always watch their wake and wave when fellow boaters pass by. It's one big community on the water, so be a good neighbor, be friendly and say hello to the fellow families enjoying the holiday!