Boating Safety

Fortunately accidents on our waterways are reasonably rare but just occasionally you may have an unexpected situation to deal with and you need to be prepared.  Whether you are new to boating or have been boating for a long time, there is a chance you could find yourself in an unknown situation so knowing how to stay safe is critical.

Keeping everyone on your boat safe and any other boaters you encounter is essential when enjoying the UK’s waterways.

Boating safety includes how you operate your boat and rules on the waterways.  You should familiarise yourself as to where you can moor a boat, speed restrictions, overtaking and how to steer around any obstacles you may come across.   These things can vary significantly between different types of boats and be affected by the weather and the population of the waterway on the day.

Common causes of boating accidents include:

  • Excessive Speed
  • Operator inattention or inexperience
  • Collisions
  • Not adhering to navigation rules
  • Alcohol use
  • Weather conditions
  • Fires and explosions

However, falls are the most common accident.  Falls normally happen when trying to moor, particularly with a new boat or inexperienced boater. Falls can be easily prevented through getting familiar with your boat and being knowledgeable about boating basics before going out.   Always wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid.

In open boats, always wear a ‘kill-chord’. The kill-chord cuts the engine when you move away from it, i.e. have fallen in or are no longer in control.

Further information and reading can be found on The Canal & River Trust website who work closely with the Environment Agency to help and support boaters across the Country.  They have a number of animated boating safety films as guides to staying safe.

Whether you are new to boating or have been boating for years, it’s always good to remind yourself of all safety aspects.

There are some short videos, each around 5 minutes long, which are well worth watching as they offer helpful boating safety advice in an easy to view format.

The Broads Authority also have similar videos, might be worth sharing both if it’s not too confusing?

The Broads Authority YouTube