Boating safety applies not only to seagoing cruise liners and merchants but also to pleasure craft. While the rivers, streams and inland lakes can be idyllic, there are some rules and laws that any boat owner in any country should know to make an afternoon out or a week of water fun, safe and enjoyable. Just as driving a car combines common sense safety with laws so does piloting even a small pleasure craft.
Many regions enforce water safety laws with specialized enforcement officers. These individuals are often empowered to issue citations or sanctions if laws are disobeyed. Water safety officers help keep even inland waterways safer for commerce as well as pleasure boating.
Knowing the local laws is perhaps the most critical of all pointers for a safe waterway. Laws are created to govern waterways to protect everyone. These laws and ordinances may also include protection for indigenous or endangered local aquatic wildlife. It is important to know if a license is required locally and to acquire the necessary certification before taking a pleasure craft out on the water.
Motorized pleasure craft may be forbidden in some areas or restricted as to speed. Familiarity with the local regulations as well as any imposed by the province or state can make sure that everyone has a good time on the water including the residents of the area. Being respectful of the laws and of other pleasure craft operators can go a long way towards safe boat operation.
Safe operation of any watercraft also requires thorough knowledge of some maritime conventions. It is important that the operator know when they have the right of way over another vessel and even which side they should pass another vessel. Many areas have instituted certification or licensing tests to assure these conventions are understood and obeyed since there are no highways and few road signs out on the water.
There are laws imposed to assure safe operation of pleasure boats and there are also safety considerations that are behind these laws. Most areas do not let pleasure boat operation under the influence of alcohol or drugs as these can affect judgment and be dangerous for both the operator and their passengers. An operator whose reaction time or judgment is impaired can be just as hazardous on the waterways as on the highways.
The water is for most people, wonderfully peaceful and relaxing. However, the watercraft operator should assure the necessary safety equipment is in good repair before taking a craft on out on the waterways. Such safety equipment can be as basic as a life-preserver for every person on the boat. Areas that require operator certification or licensing for boat operators will also need the operator to know and understand boating safety equipment requirements.
Boating safety is important and some of the simplest rules or conventions if overlooked can have disastrous consequences. Even if a license or certification is not required by the local regulations, most operators will find that a boat safety course assures they know and understand laws as well as conventions and can handle their pleasure craft on the water as safely as they handle their automobile on the highway. Assuring that everyone arrives home safely from a day on the water is the reason these courses are offered.