Boating, swimming, and all kinds of water sports are very popular in Annapolis. It helps, of course, that we’re nestled on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, its sparkling waters visible from just about everywhere in the downtown core.
If you are a water enthusiast, you are likely counting the days until the summer warmth arrives. Staying safe on the water, however, is just as important and all it takes is a little preparation and some good common sense. This holds whether you are a seasoned boater or new to it and you should always be prepared for the unexpected.
Here are our top tips for staying safe on the water in Annapolis this year:
1. Make sure you have the proper safety gear before setting out
No matter what type of vessel you set off in, you should always have enough life jackets for everyone on board – this is not just a “good idea” – it’s the law. When choosing a life jacket for yourself, make sure it fits properly. If you’re an angler, you might want to choose a life vest with extra pockets and straps so you can better accommodate your tackle.
2. Put a water safety kit together
Here’s a handy list of essential safety gear you should have on hand:
- Ropes: great for tying down your boat or rescuing someone that’s gone overboard.
- Flares: to send up a distress signal if you find yourself in trouble.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Bucket: in case you spring a leak or have to bail out water for any reason.
- Mirror: a mirror can help you signal for help.
- Fire extinguisher: always good to have on hand.
- Plastic trash bags: use to keep items or yourself dry if needed.
- Duct tape: sticks even when wet and can help you temporarily patch leaks quickly.
- Waterproof whistle: to signal for help.
- Large zip-lock bags to keep your cellphones and devices dry.
Package all of these things up into a water-tight plastic bin and keep it on board and within reach.
3. Check the weather before setting out
Weather can get ugly in a matter of seconds, turning your pleasant, relaxing outing into a dangerous nightmare. Be sure to check the weather before casting off. Keep in mind also that the water may still be icy at this time of year so be sure to have warm, dry clothes on hand just in case you get wet.
4. Take a boating safety course
Even the most experienced boaters could use a little water safety refresher now and then. Rules and regulations tend to change, so it’s always a good idea to stay on top of it. Some courses can be completed online, and some provide you with a certification once you pass. Check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for available courses.
Are you ready for the coming season of fun on the water? Use these tips to make it a safe one, and when you’re ready to come back to work, you know we’ll always be here for you with Annapolis’ favorite flexible office solutions.