Take 'em out and show 'em the ropes during National Safe Boating Week

Sharing some safety tips with boating guests is always a good idea.
When the 2013 National Safe Boating Week takes place from May 18-24, do something different. Take a friend out boating, sailing and fishing and show them a good time - and how easy it is to keep everyone aboard safe. Giving your guests a short pre-departure talk about important safety gear and tips for safe operation could go a long way in making sure the day stays fun.

The following list of six tips from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety takes less than six minutes to share with guests:

1. Most newcomers to boating have no idea how a boat handles once you're out on open water. Explain to your guests where the best/safest places are to sit during operation, how you'll handle wakes, and if your boat is on the small side, show them how a passenger's shifting weight can affect your boat's stability or exposure to waves.

2. With your VHF radio turned on, tell your guests how to call for help on channel 16. If you have a DSC-VHF radio, show them the red mayday button and explain how to activate it.

3. Bring out the life jackets and encourage your new-to-boating guests to wear one. If they are not worn, ensure they are easy to get to, such as under or next to their seat.

4. Point out the location of other important safety gear such as flares and fire extinguishers.

5. Show your guests on a chart where you're going, and let them know you've filed a float plan so others know the boat's whereabouts and when the group should be returning.

6. Let them know what to do if someone falls overboard - having a spotter is essential as is keeping a throwable device, also known as a type IV personal floatation device (PFD), handy at all times.