Basic boating safety

Every year, thousands of people flock to Table Rock Lake for boating, fishing and swimming. With over 800 miles of shoreline and clean, clear water it is one of the premier destinations for lake fun, especially for boating. No matter how much experience you may have, a refresher on basic boating safety is never a bad idea. And if you’re new to our beautiful lake, the tips below will help you have the fun family time you’re looking for.

1. Pay attention to the weather. Before taking your boat on the water, check the forecast and plan accordingly. If the clouds start to darken, volatile or changing winds pick up, or there is a sudden drop in temperature play it safe and get off the water.

2. Create and use a packing list. In the excitement and rush to start enjoying your day on the the lake, it’s easy to overlook something vital such as sunscreen or even life jackets. Before heading to the lake, make a check list of everything you will need for the trip. Make sure you have each item on the list before leaving the dock.

3. Follow a pre-departure checklist. Making sure your boat is ready for any situation is also a must. Check all equipment, fuel levels, etc. before departing.

4. Choose an assistant skipper. Make sure you are not the only person on the boat familiar with the how your boat handles and operates and general boating safety. If you are injured or incapacitated in any way, it is important someone else is capable of getting everyone back to shore safely.

5. Develop a float plan. Whether you inform family member or your local marina, it is important someone knows where you plan to go, how long you plan to be out and who is on the boat with you. It is also helpful to let this person know what kind of communication/signal equipment you have on board.

6. Use your life jacket! The majority of drowning victims are a result of boaters not wearing their life jackets. Make sure everyone on your boat has a properly fitting life jacket and that they wear it!

7. Avoid alcohol. Anytime you are operating a boat, you need to have full control of all your sense. Drinking alcohol doubles your chances of being involved in a boating accident. Also, studies have shown the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.

We can’t wait to see you at Big M Marina this summer! We hope these tips help you have a safe and fun vacation on our lake!

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