Seven Expert Tips to Keep You Safe on the Water This Winter

The Coast Guard says planning and preparation are important to any safe outing on the water.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the winter season brings added hazards to staying safe on the water. Cold air and colder water means people need to be extra prepared for any activity, such as ice fishing and snowmobiling.

Here are the seven tips USCG listed for having a safer winter on the water:

  1. File a float plan: Filing a float plan just means telling someone you plan to be on the water. In case of emergency, this information can be used to help rescue you.
  2. Always wear a lifejacket; also make sure everyone you are with has one that properly fits.
  3. Have some form of communication on you at all times: The Coast Guard recommends a VHF radio and a handheld GPS. This allows someone to call for help as well as give their position. These work better than cell phones because they don't need reception.
  4. Dress for the water, not the air: It is crucial to check the water temperature and know what equipment is needed to thrive in dangerous situations.
  5. Know the 1-10-1 principle: You have 1 minute after being submerged to gain control of your breathing. There are then 10 minutes of meaningful movement to help someone self-recover. Finally, there is approximately one hour until hypothermia will set in and someone could become unconscious.
  6. Maintain situational awareness at all times: Whether it be knowing what is happening around the boat, keeping an eye on changing weather, or even knowing where the boat is, good situational awareness can help a bad situation from getting worse.
  7. Always be responsible and never boat under the influence: Boating under the influence decreases overall situational

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