The freedom afforded by boating is one of its many appeals, and it is certainly true that many mariners are attracted by the possibilities of the vastness of the open water. Boating represents something of an opportunity for escape from all of the troubles and stresses of daily life in an increasingly connected society, and it is hard to imagine a better way to relax than experiencing the slow rock of the ocean as it gently lifts an unmoored boat and its passenger with nothing in sight but the faint outline of the shore on the horizon.
While boating is indeed a beautiful pursuit for this reason and so many others, that same feeling of freedom and detachment from daily life often leads to boaters engaging in unsafe behaviors. Though there is a great deal of oversight provided by law enforcement and other authorities charged with maintaining safe boating conditions, it is quite clear that many boaters continue to operate their equipment in ways that could be harmful to themselves or to others.
With this being the case, it is critical that veteran boaters take the time to reach out to new or uninformed boaters so they understand the risks they are taking by boating in an unsafe way. Ken Fisher has clearly demonstrated the value of educating others, and boaters can take a lesson from this fact by sharing their knowledge and expertise with others who happen to be passionate about boating.
There are many boaters who believe there are few things better than a cold adult beverage while cruising along the open water. Certainly there are occasions in which it is acceptable to indulge these sorts of tastes, but it should be obvious that it is not an appropriate activity to engage in while in charge of any boat, large or small. Even the slightest bit of impairment can cause a boater to miss important signage or fail to recognize obstructions that are just below the surface, resulting in damage to the vessel that could lead to the boat capsizing.
Getting lost on the open water or experiencing an emergency while far from land is incredibly dangerous, so whatever enjoyment one experiences while consuming adult beverages during boating activities is far from worthwhile considering the risk. Of course, the authorities are always on the lookout for this sort of behavior due to the fact that they are all too familiar with the potential consequences, yet many boaters fail to heed the advice of authority figures whom they perceive as out to ruin their good time. This is why fellow boaters must share in the responsibility to ensure boater safety, as most people are more likely to listen to advice when it comes from a peer rather than an authority figure.
Impaired boating is not the only concerning behavior commonly engaged in by boaters, as boaters tend to enjoy a thrill and view the open water as a sort of personal playground in which just about anything goes. No wake zones are ignored with regularity and many boaters venture out into open water without the proper safety equipment. The common assumption here is that nothing will go wrong so there will be no need to bring equipment along, so when something does happen to go wrong, it goes terribly wrong and results in dire circumstances that should have been easily avoided.
One of the most effective ways to help new or inexperienced (or careless) boaters take the proper precautions is to share stories in which unexpected consequences arose but disaster was averted due to a consistent adherence to proper boat safety. Hearing a story of someone else’s experience makes the situation suddenly seem more plausible and will help convince others to understand the importance of cautious behavior.
For veteran boaters, it is essential to view education of others as a responsibility, as far too many boaters take unnecessary and unadvisable chances that can lead to disastrous consequences. A chance encounter with someone who doesn’t have a full understanding of why the rules and guidelines are in place may ultimately save their life or the lives of others.