As Summer approaches, Geist residents and homeowners are eager and excited to get out on the lake—and rightfully so!
But before you set sail, we want to make sure you know the ropes of boating safety. To keep lake days as fun-filled as possible, it’s important to stay diligent when it comes to keeping yourself and others safe. So keep reading to learn what you can do to help make this boating season worry-free.
1. Wear Your Life Jacket
Life jackets are at the core of safe boating. In Indiana, State Law requires passengers 12 years old and under to wear a life jacket anytime the boat is in motion, and passengers 13 years and older must have a life jacket on board.
At Geist Conservancy District, we strongly recommend all boaters ensure they’re wearing a life jacket at all times while boating. Even the strongest swimmers can become injured or disoriented if thrown from a boat. In addition, life jackets ensure if an accident does happen, your head will stay above water.
2. Watch the Weather
As any Indiana resident knows, a sunny day can quickly turn into a full-fledged thunderstorm without warning. Make sure you check the weather radar before heading out on the lake! Thunderstorms can create wind and wave conditions that can be difficult to navigate while out on the water, not to mention the dangers a lightning strike could present.
If you’re out on the lake and the weather starts to look ominous, the best thing to do is head back to shore. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. Do a Safety Check
Before you get out on the water for the first time this season, make sure you do a basic safety walk-through. Make sure you:
- Check the engine and bilge
- Have a first-aid kit
- Look for leaks or the smell of fuel
- Have enough fuel for your trip
- Look for blocked exhaust ports
- Have your registration
- Ensure your navigation lights are working
- Have visual signaling devices
4. Keep an Eye Out
Boaters should always be on the lookout for swimmers, water tubers, etc. We understand that it can be easy to get caught up in the fun when boating and momentarily forget you’re sharing the lake with others.
We always suggest boaters bring a companion or “spotter” along with them. This way, one person can focus on driving the boat while the spotter can keep a peripheral eye out. If they see any people or approaching hazards, they can alert the captain before it’s too late.
5. Use Common Sense!
It may sound like common sense—but please use your common sense! Operating a boat is much like driving a car. Just like you wouldn’t drive while distracted or under the influence, you shouldn’t do this while boating, either. Some additional tips for staying responsible out on the water include:
- Don’t speed
- Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment
- Don’t throw trash overboard
- Don’t go within 200 feet of the shoreline or other boaters
- Don’t ignore waterway markers
See You On The Lake!
We hope this list of boating safety tips reminds you that we all play an essential part in making the Geist Reservoir a safe place for everyone. We can’t wait to see you out on the water this season!