There’s nothing quite like the wind in your hair as you cruise around the lake on a boat with perfectly sunny skies! There’s always plenty to do while out on the water, like fish, swim, wakeboard, ski, and much more. Spending time out on the water is a great way to cool off from these consistently high temperatures and makes for a fun trip with family and friends. While going out on a boat is exciting and fun, there are some safety precautions everyone should be aware of. With over 4,000 boating incidents in 2021 alone, it is important to take a moment and understand what you can do to be prepared and safe while out on a boat. A great all-around rule is the 50-foot rule. Maintain a 50-foot distance from other vessels, persons, the shoreline, or stationary objects (such as a platform or tree trunk).
Understanding Life Jackets
Life jackets have their name for a reason, they save lives. In 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that 81% of boating deaths were due to drowning and 83% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. It is important to wear a life jacket when out on the water, even if you are a good swimmer. If you decide to swim or float, a life jacket will keep your head above the water. If you want to wakeboard or waterski, the life jacket will help you especially if you fall, and in extreme cases where you become disoriented or unconscious. Children should wear a life jacket at all times when boating regardless of their ability to swim or not. Not sure what life jacket to buy? Here is what you should look for:
- U.S. Coast Guard Approved
- Size and Weight measurements are correct
- Hold your arms straight up over your head, ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up; make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face
Other Safety Tips
Life jackets are not the only component of boating safety. It is always important to make sure that the boat follows the rules and regulations of the U.S. Coast Guard. During a routine stop, the Coast Guard may ask to see the following: a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board, a whistle in case of an emergency, and there has to be a fire extinguisher. A first aid kit is always good to have on board since it can help with any minor injury to more severe ones. You should aim to have a tool kit of some kind with you just in case, you may need to cut a rope or fix a screw.
Alcohol and Water
While it may be fun to drink while out on the boat, it is crucial that the driver does not drink. Drinking alcohol affects judgement, vision, balance, and coordination – all things that the driver needs to properly drive the boat. It is just like driving, if you get pulled over and you are intoxicated on a boat, you also get a ticket or even go to jail. It is also very important to have plenty of water while out on the boat since it is constant sun exposure. This will prevent dehydration and heatstroke, so be sure to have at least 1-2 waters per person.
We all know that the weather here in Texas can be unpredictable and change in a split second. If you’re out boating, be aware of the weather and take note of any sudden changes. If you notice storm clouds, a sudden temperature drop, or wind speed increase, get off the water as it could be a sudden storm. If you do get caught in a sudden down pour, try to get somewhere safe that you can park the boat and seek shelter. If you are swimming and it starts to thunder/lighting, you need to get out of the water immediately. Storms are not something to mess with while boating, strong winds and rain can cause massive waves, even on a lake, that can make it difficult to drive the boat or even capsize it. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you notice unusual weather, it is better to head back to shore.
Water sports, like wakeboarding, are a great way to be active and have fun! At any point during the summer, you can see kids on a tube, wakeboarders doing cool flips, and many more fun water sports! It is important to make sure everyone understands the proper way to do these activities. If you are a beginner, take you time and really learn how to use the rope and master the formation. The last thing anyone wants is for the tow rope to get caught up in the propeller as it can cause serious problems to the boat. Make sure to keep the rope out of the way and not wrapped around anything. It is also important to always have a person watching while someone is trying out a water sport, so they can signal the driver if that person falls or gets hurt. When getting back in the boat after finishing a water sport or simply swimming, make sure the propeller is completely off before getting back on the boat. Water Sports can include:
- Wake Surfing
- Knee Boarding
- Slalom Skiing
- Barefoot Skiing
Water sports are a lot of fun and can be great forms of exercise, but they are limited to daylight hours. Do not try these at night since the visibility is dramatically decreased and is dangerous for the participant and other boat drivers. Typically, you have 30 minutes after sunset to continue tow activities, like tubing or wakeboarding, but then you need to stop. Make sure that you understand all the rules and regulations that your area may have in regard to water sports and safety.
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Regardless of what type of medical situation you may be facing, Community First ER is here to help. There’s no need to make an appointment, and you won’t have to wait. Our board-certified physicians and nurses will always be ready to see you. We understand that emergencies aren’t always convenient, which is why we do everything we can to make your experience with us as hassle-free as possible. From the moment you arrive at Community First ER to the moment you leave us our compassionate and knowledgeable staff will take care of you or your family member appropriately. If your condition warrants transportation to a local hospital, we can easily arrange this using our ambulance and helipad services. Our 9,000 square foot facility includes an onsite lab, radiology, and imaging services and is equipped to provide adult, pediatric, and adolescent emergency and critical care. We strive to provide the most effective and most efficient medical care in a stress-free and comfortable environment.
We are here to help
At Community First ER, we are committed to providing you the best possible care now and always. With adult and pediatric emergency care available, we have a team of board-certified medical and surgical specialists we consult to help manage our patients and their medical emergencies. We form relationships with local doctors to ensure that our patients have access to the best specialists for their individual needs. You can call ahead and discuss your symptoms at any time.
We are Community First Emergency Room – committed to putting your community, health, and YOU FIRST, every day.
If you are a loved one experiencing an urgent or emergency medical issue, please contact us right away at (281) 343-3134.
About Community First ER
Emergency health care is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at https://communityfirster.com/ and engage with us on social media!