Pontoon Boating Safety Guidelines
You can create a number of memorable moments by doing recreational boating with your family and friends in the romantic environment of a cruise or on a pontoon boat. But while owning a boat for recreation you cannot ignore the responsibilities attached to it. If you know how to keep yourself and your guests safe on the water then you will be a smart boat owner.
Whether you are operating a boat for many years or have purchased a new pontoon just now, you will have to renew your information about the safety measures for the type of boat you have. You can easily follow the rules of boating or marine laws even if their guidelines are different in different states. Still, they are easy to follow as the basis of these laws are more or less same. At first, you should use your common sense while following safety guidelines for pontoon boating. And the second point is to know the guidelines of the state in which you want to boat.
The rules of the water
Boating, whether it is professional boating or recreational boating like pontoon boating, its own set of rules and regulations for both the people boarding it and its operator, like any other type of transportation. The waterways are monitored and protected by state and federal laws in the same manner as the standard roadways are controlled. Still, there are certain safety guidelines that vary from state to state. They may include:
- Passing on a certain side and granting right of way in a particular situation
- Minimum age of the operator
- Obligation of wearing life jacket for everyone on the boat
- Legal position of operating a boat or other vessel on water under the influence of alcohol or drug
- Restrictions on towing watercraft’s
- License and insurance for boating
Before starting pontoon boating or operating any other kind of boat it is better to study the safety guidelines of the state carefully and follow them completely to keep yourself and your guests safe. If the boat operator breaks the marine laws then he can be fined or prosecuted for irresponsible behavior like the driver of automobiles is arrested or ticketed for their reckless attitude on the road. The consequences of irresponsible behavior on watercrafts can be injury or death in the worse condition.
If you are unable to understand the safety guidelines of the state in which you want to boat. Due to their overwhelming nature, even then you should check few things before hitting the water for you and your loved one’s safety. Your fun pontoon boating can become tedious if you do not check stay alerts, the speed of your boat or consumption of drug or alcohol by the boat operator etc. Certain general things are briefly discussed hereunder which you should check before hitting the water.
Check the equipment
While starting pontoon boating on any water body, before leaving you should first of all check the pressure in the tires of the trailer. Your fun journey can be ruined before its start if the tires of your trailer do not have enough pressure. According to the laws of the state, your boat must have a safety chain to keep it secured. So you should ensure that you are complying the rules and regulations of the state you are in for pontoon boating. The trailer of your boat should also have all the lights including brake lights and turn signal lights intact. Before taking the boat to the road you should secure the cushions and life jackets in it otherwise they can go on flying on the highway.
The equipment installed in the boat is also important to be focused on before hitting the water. According to the law, there must be a personal floating device on the boat appropriately fit to everyone on it. There must be visual distress signals like flags or flares and a fire extinguisher on the boat. You should also have an anchor, a first aid kit and a line on the boat so that you may avoid traveling too far in the case of failure of your boat engine.
Handling adverse weather conditions
The second thing to be checked before starting pontoon boating is that how your boat can handle doubtful weather conditions. You should always have certain safety equipment on your boat like floatation devices that can be thrown in the water, preserves, toe line, and anchor and paddles. You should be familiar with the performance of your pontoon boat to handle the situation correctly as the performance of pontoon boats can be different from traditional boats in adverse weather conditions.
Behavior of onboard People
Pontoon boats normally have lots of space for sitting and managing events as they are considered as party boats. Though people have fun on pontoon boats even then they should check their behaviors that can cause safety threat for them as well as others. So in order to ensure the safety of everyone on the boat such behaviors should be avoided.
- The driver of the boat should not drink alcohol
- Though pontoon boats are not speed boats still many drivers drive them fast out of fun. You should strictly follow the laws regarding the legal limit of speed and take care of the limitation of your boat.
- Avoid overloading the boat
- Before going out for pontoon boating you should ensure about the weather predictions carefully.
- You should take a course for boating safety to learn something new in this regard along with covering all the other safety glitches
- You should ensure the weight capacity of your pontoon boat if the people traveling on it are using some water toys like skiers as it can exceed the load on it
So, you should be aware of the safety rules and regulations of the state before hitting the water with a pontoon boat. In fact, these boats are made to have maximum fun, comfort, and functionality. You can use them for trips, fishing, water sports, and parties. So you should ensure that you know all the considerations about the safety of your guests before taking your boat on the water.