Boating Safety Guide: Staying Safe on the Water

You learned the "rules of the road" before you sat behind the wheel of a car, and you should do the same before taking the helm. Just like studying to get your driver’s license, it is very important to have the boating information and certifications you need to be a safe boater before you hit the water. In fact, a number of states require powerboat operators to take a boater’s education course and carry a license or certificate proving successful course completion any time they're on the water. By consulting a safe boating guide and obtaining the required certificates beforehand, you not only protect yourself and family but other boaters on the water.

Get Started with a list of our Basic Safe Boating Tips

Pre-Departure Checklist

Before you leave the dock, you'll need to ensure you have the right safety gear and equipment on your boat, as required by regulation. Our Boat Safety Checklist & Safety Equipment list can help.

Boat Safety Checklist & Safety Equipment List

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Inspirational stories, educational articles, and tips for new & experienced captains

Mastering how to navigate a boat is a basic skill needed by boaters of all experience levels. Understanding the fundamentals of marine navigation simply ensures that once you leave the dock, you know how to get where you're going safely and efficiently. 

Learning how to use a VHF radio is part of the elementary skills needed for successful marine communication. There are two main types of VHF marine radios for your boat: a hand-held or fixed-mount unit. Find out the basic steps for using a VHF, both for general communications or during an emergency.

In the market for a new boat, and leaning towards a personal watercraft (PWC)? You'll have a number of options to consider, including brand, number of passengers, and model-type, such as recreation, cruising or touring, performance and stand-up—learn more in our PWC buyer's guide.