This past year has been one of the “craziest” we have ever seen here around Lake Keowee. The influx of people moving from big cities to enjoy the serenity of our beautiful lake town has significantly driven up not only the real estate market but the boating market as well! With that being said, it is important for new boaters (and even seasoned boaters) to remember how to respectfully and safely operate and maneuver their watercraft as we sail through the summer season.
Every year, awareness is shed on the potential dangers of boating during the National Boating Safety Week, May 22-28th. WEAR IT – a program from the National Safe Boating Council, created the safety week to build proper boating habits to prevent watercraft hazards and injuries.
Did you know? According to a fact sheet on boating safety facts from SafeBoatingCampaign.com, a website dedicated to WEAR IT, 79% of all boating fatalities are from drowning, and of those, 86% of victims weren’t wearing a life vest. And only 20% of those deaths come from those where the boating operator received proper safety training. This suggests many boaters are not fully educated on safety rules. With this in mind, we want to call out the importance of boating safety and share some great tips with you as you rev up your watercraft for fun on the lake this summer.
Top Boating Safety Tips:
You can download a safety tips PDF from WEAR IT to keep on your vessel by clicking here. Here is an overview of what they recommend:
- Always wear a life jacket. If you’re on the water, keep them on.
- Get a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. They’re tested and approved to work when you’ll need them most.
- Be knowledgeable:
- Know your lake laws. Laws can vary by state and even specific lakes, so be aware of what you need to do (or not do) to be in compliance.
- Learn about boating safety through a class. Did you know that if you take a course, that many boat insurance companies will give you a discount? It’s a win-win!
- Know your boat.
- How many people can you safely have onboard? Know your limits and how the vessel handles. Don’t go for a first ride packed with friends – try the vessel with minimal riders until you are fully comfortable maneuvering the boat or vessel in any condition.
- Watch the weather. Pay close attention to weather forecasts which can change quickly.
- Don’t drink and drive. Sounds fun when you’re on the lake to have a drink with friends while boating. It’s not smart and dangerous.
- Be alert & responsive:
- Don’t ride closely to other watercrafts
- Watch out for non-boaters such as skiers or kayakers who could be hurt from your wake.
- Remember basics:
- Don’t stand on the bow of any moving vessel. Being thrown overboard can cause drowning or bodily harm if hit by the watercraft.
- Remember the time of day and be out of the water after sunset. Use your navigation lights when moving in the lake during sunset.
Other tips many might not have known:
- Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep a detector on your boat & don’t dock close to a running motor.
- File a float plan. A float plan is like a flight plan – but it tells others where you’re going, with whom, and what boat and the towing vehicle you’re using. Always plan for the worst just in case.
Boating and water sports are some of the best parts of what makes summer great here on Lake Keowee. Enjoying our expansive lake and gorgeous mountain views is the top pastime of many residents in our area. When out on the lake, remember to follow safety rules to protect yourself and passengers, respect others who are also boating, and the landowners whose docks line Keowee’s shorelines. Be knowledgeable, be alert, and most of all – have fun! Happy Boating!