8 boating safety tips and tools you can use

Protect yourself and nature while enjoying the water.

Do you know the best ways to keep yourself and marine life safe while out on the water? If so, you’re in the right place.

A father and daughter enjoy a kayak trip in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California.
A father and daughter enjoy a kayak trip in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California. (NOAA/Claire Fackler)

It’s National Safe Boating Week offsite link, and we’ve partnered with the National Safe Boating Council offsite link, a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, to make it easy to remember what to do when you’re out in a sail- or motor boat, canoe, kayak or other sea-worthy vessel this summer.  

Here’s our checklist for anyone going out to sea, lake or river:

  1. Will a storm move in while you’re on the water? Check NOAA’s marine forecast and be in the know before you go. Use your NOAA Weather Radio to stay alert to weather hazards in the area.
  2. Wear your life jacket offsite link. Always. Every passenger.
  3. Recreational boaters: Know what you’re getting into, literally. Check these nautical resources, such as the latest tide and current predictions.
  4. Understand the danger of cold water and how to prepare for and survive in it should you accidently go overboard.
  5. Know wildlife-viewing or fishing regulations, guidelines and tips for the location you’ll be enjoying. And boat responsibly while enjoying our nation’s pristine and protected underwater parks.
  6. Using a mooring buoy? Make sure you are using it correctly. 
  7. Boat clean and green. Secure all trash onboard, and don’t dump it overboard. Help prevent small oil spills if you have a vessel with an engine.
  8. “See A Spout, Watch Out.” It’s so exciting to encounter a whale when you’re out on the water. Know how far away you must stay from these beloved marine mammals for their and your safety. Boat strikes can kill whales and seriously injure passengers.