There are many things to enjoy during the summer when the weather is hot and sunny, but few things compare to spending time on the lake. From boating to swimming, it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family, and it’s a great way to spend time in the great outdoors.
However, as is usually the case, the things in our lives that are the most fun require the most caution. Spending the day in the sun and zooming around on a boat can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
No matter how you decide to enjoy your day on the lake, these seven tips will ensure you and everyone else returns home safe and healthy at the end of the day.
Don’t Drink and Drive—the Boat
You already understand the importance of not drinking and driving in your day-to-day life. It turns out that it is just as important not to drink and drive when you’re behind the wheel of a boat as it is not to drink and drive when you’re behind the wheel of a car.
Drunk driving a boat and drunk driving a car are equally dangerous. Because you’re on the water, getting into an accident on a boat can be scarier and more deadly. Not to mention, getting help can be a little more difficult than if you got into an accident on the road.
Don’t drink and drive a boat, and don’t get into a boat with someone who has been drinking to avoid a potentially serious accident.
Know When and Who Needs to Wear a Life Jacket
When it doubt, everyone should always wear a life jacket when you’re out on the boat. You just never know when you might slip or accidentally fall overboard, and wearing a life jacket can save your life.
It does pay to know the details of the life jacket rules where you live. For example, adults may not have to wear a life jacket in the boat, but they will likely be required to wear a life jacket when water skiing or jet skiing, for example.
All children should always wear a properly fitted life jacket at all times. It’s also a good idea for any adults who don’t know how to swim or aren’t confident swimming in the lake to wear a life jacket at all times.
Learn Hand Signals That Can Be Used When Water Skiing or Tubing
If your idea of having fun on the water includes things like water skiing and tubing, you absolutely have to learn a few important hand signals. They will ensure everyone on the boat knows what’s going on while you’re in the water.
A few hand signals to learn include:
- Thumbs down means slow down
- Thumbs up means go faster
- Pat your head if you’re ready to quit
- Clasped hands above your head means you’re okay
Designate a Water Watcher While Others Are Swimming
If you’re on the beach, but especially if you’re on the boat and others are spending time in the water, it is important to designate a water watcher.
A water watcher should be physically turned around on the boat to watch anyone who is being towed behind the boat, but they should also watch swimmers without distraction to make sure everyone is safe. That means not using a cell phone, chatting with others on the boat, or swimming and watching at the same time.
It is also important to know the signs that someone is drowning. That way, you can get them out of the water as soon as possible.
Be Prepared to Protect Yourself From the Sun All Day Long
With the summer comes exposure to the sun, and the sun can be brutal when you’re spending time near the water. The lake acts like a huge mirror, reflecting the sunlight back onto your skin, which means you can burn much more quickly, and you can burn more severely.
It’s important to apply sunscreen the right way, but it’s also important to know exactly how often you’re supposed to reapply sunscreen. Plan to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but be mindful of your own body. If you’re starting to feel like you’re burning, or if you have a very fair-skinned child, you may want to apply sunscreen in key areas more often.
Make Sure You Have Enough Water to Keep Everyone Hydrated
Just because you know how much water you drink on a daily basis at home doesn’t mean you know how much water you’re going to drink when you’re out in the sun on the lake. It’s important to bring more water than you think you’ll need because everyone is going to drink more water when the weather is hot.
Bring a cooler and fill it with fresh, clean water. Water bottles are convenient, but gallon jugs and even larger containers are a good option for those who are worried about waste. If you run out, don’t be afraid to send someone to get more before the last bottle is empty.
Take a Boater or Water Safety Course
If you plan on spending a lot of time on a boat, it’s a good idea to take a boater safety course. You will learn how to operate a boat, as well as boating information where you live, like right of way boating rules.
A water safety course isn’t a bad idea either. A water safety course is great for swimmers, as well as jet skiers and kayakers. You’ll learn important information that can save you or someone else in your party in the event of an accident.
There’s a lot of fun to be had on the lake this summer! The last thing you want to do is cut your fun short because there’s an accident.