Before you take your pontoon boat out on the water, you’ll want to prepare for a fun and safe voyage. As the old saying goes, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure and that applies here, too. A little proactivity can make a big impact in keeping your family safe on the water. We’ve created the following guide to pontoon boat safety below. If you have questions or want to explore pontoons for sale, head over to Norfolk Marine. Our dealership is based in Norfolk, Virginia, and we also serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
1. Prepare for Safe Pontoon Boat Towing
The first step in a successful voyage is successfully towing your pontoon boat to the water. Make sure your tow vehicle and boat trailer are up for the job.
- Test the air pressure on every tire and ensure they are all inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Check every tire for signs of damage or worn-out tread.
- Test the lights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure no light bulbs have burned out. Replace the light bulbs as needed.
- Before you hit the road, double check that the tow trailer is safely connected to the tow vehicle and that your pontoon boat is secure to the tow trailer.
- Make sure anything inside your pontoon boat is securely tied down. You don’t want your cushions or life jackets to fly away on the road.
2. Prepare Your Safety Equipment
Next, you want to make sure all of your safety equipment is in good condition. Some of these steps you will only need to do at the start of the boating season, while others you should do before each trip.
- Make sure every passenger has a well-fitting life jacket.
- Check that your fire extinguisher has not expired.
- Make sure there are visual distress signals on your pontoon boat, such as emergency flares or brightly colored flags.
- Inspect the first aid kit and replace any missing items or expired medications.
- Make sure you have an anchor and a line. If your pontoon boat engine fails, you can drop your anchor to make yourself easy for rescue crews to find you. That way, you won’t aimlessly drift away and end up in a different location than the rescue crew will be looking.
3. Prepare for the Weather
Always look up the weather forecast before you take a pontoon boat ride. If there is going to be a storm or other adverse weather, stay on the shore. If the weather is suitable for a pontoon boat ride, make sure every passenger is dressed appropriately. If there is a chance of rain, check that passengers have a waterproof jacket with a hood or hat. If it’s going to be sunny, make sure you have extra sunscreen. Remember that once you get moving, it can feel much colder on the pontoon boat than the weather forecasts. Pack along extra blankets to keep everyone cozy.
4. Prepare Your Passengers
Finally, make sure everyone who comes aboard your pontoon boat is aware of safe boat riding practices, such as:
- Put on life jackets before you step onto the boat and keep life jackets on until you exit. the boat (just in case a passenger slips and falls into the water while trying to enter or the boat).
- No running on the boat (it’s all too easy to slip and fall).
- Keep arms inside the pontoon boat.
If you are boating with kids, it may help to review the safety rules before the first few trips until they become a habit.
We hope you found this pontoon boat safety guide useful! If you want more information or need to get your pontoon boat serviced before your trip, visit the experts at Norfolk Marine. We can help you with whatever you need, from giving you advice to replacing work out or broken parts on your pontoon boat. You’ll find us in Norfolk, Virginia, and we also serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.