Each year, National Safe Boating Week occurs the week prior to Memorial Day weekend to remind boaters about the many ways they can stay safe as the start of the summer boating season kicks off. This year, it is held from May 21-27, 2022.
Safety is one of Volvo Penta’s core values, one that we take seriously – everything from suggested maintenance, ease of operation, and how we engineer our products. Many precautionary resources are available to boaters not only from us and our authorized dealer network but also from the United States Coast Guard and Sea Tow Foundation.
The best and easiest first step in ensuring safety while boating is following the preventative maintenance as outlined by your engine manufacturer. It also helps ensure you are getting the most out of your engine and investment. If you own a Volvo Penta engine, we also encourage using Genuine Volvo Penta Parts to help ensure maximum safety, performance and reliability. Although other aftermarket parts may often look the same as Genuine Volvo Penta Parts, slight variations in manufacturing can result in different performance and durability which can affect the safety of your vessel.
Gear up safely for the summer boating season with these seven tips from the Sea Tow Foundation:
Tip #1 – Inspect your fire extinguisher
Before heading out for the summer boating season, check your boat’s fire extinguisher. Boaters should also inspect their fire extinguishers regularly to ensure that the locking pin is intact, the tamper seal is still in place, and the pressure gauge is operating correctly. Then, the fire extinguisher should be rotated top to bottom a few times to ensure the chemical has not settled and the tank is still full.
Tip #2 – Check the weather forecast
Before every boating trip, boaters should check the weather forecast. If high winds or storms are predicted, another day should be chosen to go out on the water. Even if the weather forecast predicts a beautiful day, it is important to monitor the weather throughout the day as summer storms can appear without much warning.
Tip #3 – Take the Sober Skipper Pledge
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is illegal in every state, and it is 100% preventable. The Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Campaign aims to eliminate BUI completely. Every boater on every boating trip should Take the Pledge to be or designate a Sober Skipper. The operator of the boat will remain 100% drug and alcohol-free to ensure that the boat is operated safely and everyone on board stays safe as well.
Tip #4 – Borrow and wear a life jacket
Everyone on board should be equipped with a properly fitted life jacket. Children under 13, non-swimmers and those boating alone should always wear a life jacket while out boating. The Sea Tow Foundation offers a Life Jacket Loaner Program if you don’t have enough life jackets for your group.
Tip #5 – Switch to an e-flare
Boaters operating on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, or any river that opens into one of those are required to carry Visual Distress Signals (VDS) that can be used during the day and night to show that you’re in need of help due to an emergency. Electronic visual distress signals (eVDS), or an E-Flare, can float, never expire, and the light from an E-Flare lasts at least 2 hours.
Tip #6 – Use your engine cut-off switch
Before every boating trip, make sure that the boat operator is using the red coiled lanyard attached to the engine cut-off switch. The Sea Tow Foundation also offers special wristbands, designed to attach to the lanyard, which are available as a thank you for a small donation. Or, better yet, make the investment in your family’s safety and get a wireless man overboard system with a FOB for all on board.
Tip #7 – File a float plan
Before every boating trip, it is crucial that the operator files a float plan to let someone back home know where you’ll be heading and when you plan to be back. Using the information in your float plan will help rescuers locate you much faster and get you and your boating friends the help that you need.
Check out these additional safety resources from the Sea Tow Foundation: