Many people assume that boating is similar to driving a car. You have a throttle, a steering wheel, a horn. But in actuality, you have to be worried about a lot more things while driving a boat. In a car, you are mostly concerned with what is coming from in front of you in a car, while on a boat, you have to be concerned about things surrounding you from a 360 degree angle. With that in mind, we've provided several safety tips for you to follow that are most frequently violated.

Know Your Boat

If you’re new to your vessel, or if you’re operating someone else’s, make sure you know the ins and outs of how the your watercraft functions. Talk to the owner or someone who owns a similar boat, or read online materials of how to properly operate the boat and what to do in the event of an emergency. When first operating the boat, take things slow. Have a good idea of how quickly the boat turns and how long it takes the boat to come to a complete stop.

Steer Clear of Larger Boats

Vessels that are larger than you have a more challenging time maneuvering, which makes you responsible as the smaller vessel to avoid collisions. Sailboats, rowboats, canoes and other vessels without motors also have a challenging time getting out of the way if they are on a collision course with you. If you need to pass a larger or slower watercraft, make sure you give yourself plenty of room, and pass them at a slower speed.

Let Someone Know

One of the most important things to do before taking off is to let someone else know about your planned trip. Before you are fully underway, let someone like a family member, friend or a significant other know where you are going and when you plan on being back. Tell them where you will be going, and if you happen to make any changes to your schedule, be sure to let them know.

Stay Sober!

Just like while driving a car, operating a boat while drunk is dangerous to yourself and others out on the water. The overwhelming majority of boating accidents happen when people are drinking, so just don’t do it! Boating is all about having a fun time, but designating a driver of the boat ensures that everyone out on the water stays safe.

Fire Extinguisher

Even though you may be surrounded by water, a fire on a boat is dangerous and difficult to put out. An overheated motor engine, a cigarette not put out properly, or an overturned grill are just a few ways in which a fire on a boat can start. Therefore, keeping a fire extinguisher on board is essential to making sure that your boat and everyone on board is safe.

Wear LifeJackets

It’s called a lifejacket for a reason. If you get injured far away from land and become unconscious, or if you’re in the water during stormy weather, a lifejacket may be responsible for saving your life. Before going afloat, make sure that the boat is equipped with a lifejacket for each person on the boat. If you’re taking children with you, make sure that they are wearing a lifejacket at all times. Boating accidents can happen at any time, and ensuring that you are prepared for an accident means making sure that you have all the necessary safety equipment on board for everyone.