Pontoon Boat Safety Considerations by Colby A. Stewart
Summer is here and if you haven’t hit the water yet, it’s the perfect time to do so. Whether you’ve had a boat for years or just purchased a new pontoon, you’ll want to brush-up on safety protocol for the specific boat you own. Here are some general things to check before you hit the water, as well as some safety tips for while you’re boating.
If you’re hauling your pontoon to a body of water, make sure you check the pressure of the trailer’s tires before you leave. You don’t want a blowout to ruin your fun before it starts. State laws require safety chains to secure boats, so make sure you’re complying with your area’s regulations. Lights, brake lights, and turn signals are also required for boat trailers. Secure anything in the boat before taking to the road, as you don’t want life jackets and cushions flying all over the highway.
Equipment is important for the boat itself as well. Law requires every person to have an appropriately fitting personal flotation device. You also must have a fire extinguisher and visual distress signals such as flares or flags. You’ll also want to keep a first aid kit on board, an anchor and line so that if your engine fails you can avoid drifting too far out.
Handling Adverse Weather
Be aware of how your boat drives before heading out in questionable weather conditions. Always bring along your safety equipment, life preservers, throwable floatation device, paddle, tow line & anchor. Pontoon boats perform differently than traditional aluminum or fiberglass boats, so become familiar with the performance of your pontoon so you know exactly what it can handle.
Pontoons are known as party boats because they are spacious and offer plenty of room for sitting and maneuvering about. Even though pontoon parties are a lot of fun, there are behaviors that should not be present on a pontoon in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
- The driver of a boat should not be drinking.
- Though pontoons are not known for speed, many models are capable of going quite fast. Be aware of both the legal speed limits and the limits of your vehicle and be sure to adhere to both.
- Don’t overload your boat.
- Make sure you’re aware of weather predictions before you go out.
- To cover all your bases, take a boating safety course. You’ll most likely learn something new!
- If you’re pulling water skiers or people using other water toys, make sure you know the weight capacity of your pontoon, and don’t exceed it.
Pontoon boats are built for maximum comfort, functionality, and fun. They perfect for your lakefront property and can be used for fishing, trips, parties, and water sports. Just make sure you are aware of all of these safety considerations before taking your boat out.
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”