Flying behind a boat on a wakeboard, tube, or skis is tremendous fun. It can be so fun, in fact, that it’s easy to forget the inherent danger of the activity. While everyone aboard your adventure-seeking crew doesn’t need to be constantly thinking about safety, it is absolutely essential that the driver of the boat always has safety in mind.
As marine surveyors and operators of a boat repair shop, we at Maui Worx take great pride in our marine inspections and in keeping you and your family as safe as possible while on the water. We offer surveys on all types of water vessels, including fishing boats, speed boats, ski boats, sailboats, houseboats, and more. Check out our services and contact us today to learn more or to schedule your marine service.
When you embark on your next watersports adventure, keep the following tips in mind:
As the captain of the boat, it is of the utmost importance that you exercise caution and safe judgment at all times. This means making sure that your boat is up to code, all your equipment fits and is Coast-Guard approved, and that you are always looking out for the safety of your passengers and riders and everyone around. This also includes knowing the limits of your riders and not putting them in any dangerous situations.
Inspect All Equipment
Before setting out on the water, check all of the equipment that will be used. Inspect for wear and tear and replace any gear that is deteriorated. Also, it is important to clean your equipment after use. Rinsing equipment with fresh water and coiling tow ropes are two especially impactful practices.
Know the Area
Make sure you have familiarized yourself with the area in which you’ll be towing riders. When scouting, pay particularly close attention to shallow areas near the shoreline, docks, pilings, and any crowded channels that may pose a threat to your rider. Also, be cognizant of the fact that conditions can change; always be on the lookout for potential dangers.
When driving for tow sports, the run-and-gun approach does not work. You need to gradually increase speed so you don’t yank the rope. Once the rider is up, be gentle with the throttle and find the sweet spot for your rider, and once your rider falls, throttle back to idle before turning around to pick him or her up.
Use a Spotter
Always have someone ready to alert you when a rider falls down. Once this happens, throttle back to idle. This will ensure that you don’t hit the rider with wake and help keep your rider safe. It can also be helpful to agree on some key hand signals to indicate comfort—e.g. thumbs down means slower; thumbs up means faster, etc. Also, some boaters will use an orange flag to signal to other boaters that a rider is in the water near your boat. This is a great practice and can greatly improve boating safety.
Turn off Engine
Anytime people are swimming near the boat, your engine should be turned off. Even when riders are entering or exiting the water, you should kill the engine. In addition to the danger of a moving propeller, the boat’s exhaust also produces deadly carbon monoxide that should not be inhaled.
Make Sure Your Boat Is Safe
Nothing is worse than getting hyped up for a day of watersports and finding that your boat won’t start. Although sometimes unavoidable, many problems can be avoided with routine maintenance. Big or small, every boat needs to be maintained. Fortunately, many routine tasks are pretty easy and won’t require professional help. However, if you are not confident performing maintenance on your own or you want the peace of mind that comes with working with professionals, take your vessel to a local boat maintenance and repair shop. If you are in the Farmington or Bloomfield area, stop by Maui Worx. We’d love to help you out!
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re on a watersports adventure. Remember that safety is always first and that you should always respect the waterways and be mindful of other boaters and residents of the area. If you find yourself in need of boat maintenance, boat restoration, vinyl repair, or boat surveying, contact us. Our boat repair shop can handle everything from oil changes to marine electrical work. Have questions? Call us today at 505-629-0786.