The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. This includes anyone participating in any boating activity.
Alcohol & Boating Don't Mix
Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination - over 50% of drownings result from boating incidents involving alcohol. For the same reasons it is dangerous to operate an automobile while under the influence of alcohol, people should not operate a boat while drinking alcohol.
Look for the Label
Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets for yourself and your passengers when boating and fishing.
Develop a Float Plan
Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. This is important because if the boat is delayed because of an emergency, becomes lost, or encounters other problems, you want help to be able to reach you.
Find a Boating Course in Your Area
Courses offered by the Red Cross, U.S. Power Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Sailing, etc., teach about navigation rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water conditions, and weather.
Watch the Weather
Know local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Watch local news programs. Stop boating as soon as you see or hear a storm.