Boating a great way to enjoy the ocean or lake and spend time with family and friends. If done correctly, boating is a safe activity, but you must consider some of the risks involved.
Propeller: The propeller is one of the most dangerous parts of the boat. Even when the boat is in neutral, the propeller is still spinning. Never swim near the propeller and whenever someone is in the water or on the transom or swim platform of the boat, make sure the engine is turned off. Never touch the propeller for any reason as well. Serious or even fatal injuries can result from coming in contact with the propeller.
Motion related injuries: When onboard boat, you are not strapped into your seat like a seatbelt in a car. When underway, the boat is constantly moving up and down and side to side. Make sure everyone is seated and holding onto handrails to minimize movement. Never operate a high speeds in large waves. Be especially careful when driving in the same direction as the waves. It is very easy for the boat to go over the crest of a wave and then going down the wave slam down or swerve to the side. Take caution when operating with the waves and move at a slow speeds.
Underwater hazards: Not all obstacles while boating can be seen, so use caution when operating in unfamiliar waters and use maps when needed. Also follow signs and markers to help you avoid things like rocks and sandbars.
Man overboard: If you see someone fall overboard, turn around immediately and approach the person. Even if the the person is wearing a lifejacket, throw them a flotation device like a ring or cushion. Before they attempt to board the boat, shut off the engine. If nobody realizes someone has fallen overboard until after the fact, notify the Coast Guard and attempt to retrace your steps. Be sure to look on all sides of the boat as waves and currents can cause the person to drift.
Tip: If your GPS has a Man Over Board (MOB) button, immediately press it if someone falls overboard. If you lose sight of the person, the GPS will give you the position where the person fell overboard.