Many busy boat owners find the best time of boating is in the evening. However, boating at night can be a bit riskier.  Boating in the evening is enjoyable and even romantic but it is a good idea to use extra safety measures when planning to take your boat out after the sun has set.  There is nothing romantic about an emergency. Make it a plan to know what the U.S. Coastguard requires for safety and follow these rules implicitly. First and foremost, make sure your vessel is equipped with the appropriate safety equipment.  You will need flotation devices and life jackets for every passenger on board.  Water that is as smooth as glass can be difficult to navigate.  A floatation device to throw at a passenger who has gone overboard is a must.

Light is absolutely essential. You need to have the required lights on your boat, and it is most helpful to have a waterproof flashlight or lantern available as well. If your boat should capsize, you will need light to know where you are going. Let’s hope you never have to find out just how essential that light would be in that situation! Your boat should have lights at both the bow and stern, and those lights need to be turned on as soon as visibility is reduced. Venturing out in complete darkness is highly discouraged.  Not only are you putting you and your passengers at risk, you are creating a danger for other boaters on the water, even though they have probably chosen to take the necessary safety precautions.  In addition to this, boating at night without lights is illegal.  You would not drive a car at night without your lights on.  Boating without lights is no different.

Having a horn on board is essential.  In an emergency it will be useful for sending a distress signal should that become necessary.  Most boaters carry flares or a flare gun.  This is the best way to send a distress signal at night.

A fire extinguisher that meets safety standards is important to have on board as well as an anchor.

Factors such as the capabilities of the boat, competency of its operator, visibility, wind, etc. It all comes into play when considering the safety of boating at night.  All of these things must be considered for the safety of you and your passengers.

Source: “How to Safely Drive a Boat at Night.” Yahoo! Contributor Network. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.v

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