With boating becoming an increasingly popular activity, especially at holiday parks, safe sailing has never been more important. Find out how to ensure you stay safe on the water...
Each year, over 3.2 million UK adults participate in boating or water sport activities, with a rough total of 19 million people taking boating trips annually. These statistics truly illustrate the recent popularity of sailing, but how can holiday parks and resorts effectively benefit from these statistics?
Safety first, of course!
In 2018 alone, there were 132 recorded boating accidents in the UK, and numbers are probably higher, considering not all accidents are reported. Leisure activities at holiday parks and resorts often involve water activities, and although relaxation and fun are undoubtedly the whole point, safety on the water should be the first priority.
With a few primary considerations, you’ll be able to enjoy setting sail with peace of mind!
1. Have a Lookout
Did you know that one of the highest causes of boat accidents is having an improper lookout? Driving a boat can be a tough job, which is why designating an individual to watch out for potential obstacles is extremely important in reducing the threat of boat accidents.
With this in mind, making sure you have a proper lookout, who pays full attention, and has all the correct equipment to survey the area, is paramount.
2. Always Check Weather Conditions
When heading outdoors, in any capacity, there are weather considerations to be accounted for, especially on the water. Even if you’re well-versed on how to sail safely, adverse weather can’t be controlled. Of course, the more obvious weather conditions to check for are potential storms and wind, as well as choppy and dangerous waters, which account for a large majority of boat accidents.
That said, it’s not just this tumultuous weather that can cause problems. It’s also just as important to check out the temperature and heat index before setting off. Indeed, sunlight reflects off the water, which can contribute to overheating, sunburn, and dehydration, as well as poor visibility. As such, it’s best to avoid questionable conditions from the outset.
3. Proper Use of Life Jackets
Of course, life jackets are a staple on any boat, but there’s more to using them than simply having them present. To ensure you use life jackets effectively, be sure to think about the following:
- Make sure that there’s an available life jacket for each person that will be on board.
- Before actually hitting the open water, always assign and properly fit each person to their jacket to ensure they will function as intended.
- Check your local regulations for wearing, as they can differ.
- Anyone under the age of 16 should wear their jackets at all times while aboard.
- Anyone participating in a water sport of any kind should wear one during the activity.
Remember, having these items on board is one step, but making sure they do their job is another. Be sure to do so, to prevent avoidable casualties!
4. Get a Vessel Safety Evaluation for Safe Sailing
To ensure certain safety measures, you can also have a professional perform a vessel safety check before setting sail. Oftentimes, these can even be found as a complimentary service. But what exactly do they check for?
The evaluation checks for the presence, condition, and integrity of necessary safety equipment. For a nominal fee, you can also have the mechanics of the boat checked for proper function. For such a small cost, it seems pointless to refuse!
5. Ensure Gas is Filled Before Setting Off
Although it may not seem like an obvious problem, running out of fuel can be a really detrimental. Picture this:
You’re riding along a fast-flowing river, enjoying the wind through your hair. Suddenly, the engine cuts off, and you notice that the fuel light is red. The boat gets carried away by the strong current, in completely the wrong direction. In the distance, you see the water disappearing before your eyes - it’s a waterfall. With no fuel, the boat can’t be steered away, and there’s nothing to stop the inevitable...
It’s these sorts of seemingly harmless issues which can cause the biggest problems. Be aware.
6. Look Out For Fuel Leaks Before Setting Off
One of the highest causes of boating accidents is actually boat fires. To prevent anything like this occurring, it’s important you’re able to identify fuel in the water - simply look out for a rainbow-coloured, greasy mark in the water surrounding the boat.
7. Don’t Mess Around
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising to read the statistics of how many boat accidents are caused by irresponsible behaviour. Drink driving is one of these behaviours, which is so easily avoidable, but happens too often. With this in mind, some points to take into account are:
- Sit properly, in areas that are designed for seating.
- Keep your centre of gravity low, by not standing or moving when the boat is on-the-go.
- Maintain proper speed regulations, and slow the boat when turning corners.
- Stay sober!
Safety First, Kids!
All in all, sailing during your holiday can be a safe and family-friendly way to enjoy yourself, provided you follow simple precautions. As a visitor or exhibitor at our Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show, where boating is often a key activity, it’s important to take heed. Just a bit of preparation will result in a fun and safe time on the water, for all!