Play it safe when boating at night | Pontoon-Depot
An evening cruise to watch the sunset or do a little stargazing can be an unforgettable experience. But navigating home can be challenging. Everything looks different in the dark, and it can be easy to lose your way or hit an obstacle you just can’t see.
To make it home safely, follow these guidelines:
Before you head out, find out what the nighttime speed limit is in your area. Once you’re underway, if you feel you need to go slower than the limit, that’s certainly OK. Going slower at night just makes sense. After all, you can’t easily see the landmarks you need to navigate, and underwater or floating debris can be next to invisible. Safety first!
Learn the Language of the Lights
If you don’t know what the combinations of red, green and white lights mean, you shouldn’t be driving a boat at night. These lights help you know if a boat is coming toward you, moving away, or crossing your course - and which direction it’s going. Access your state or US Coast Guard resources to learn more, but a good rule of thumb is that if you see a red light, stop. That boat has the right-of-way.
It’s easy for your pontoon to be a party on the water. And most of the time, that’s OK. But when you’re piloting your boat at night, it’s important you’re able to concentrate. So make sure any lights on the boat (NOT your navigation lights) are dimmed, look over the windshield so you can reduce glare, and turn down the stereo.
Consider Using a Compass or a GPS
Your first trip on a waterway should never be at night. If you’re at a new place, go out during the day first and take a compass with you. Make note of the direction you travel. Or, go high-tech and use a GPS system to drop a pin at your dock or boat launch. That will make it much easier to find your way back after dark, when everything looks the same.
By following these simple steps, you can enjoy fun on the water any time of day.
Water Safety on the Lake | Pontoon-Depot
May is National Water Safety Month which typically applies to backyards: swimming pools, swim spas and hot tubs. But in our line of business, water safety month means being safe out on the lake. And here are some of our best tips:
One of the first things to remember about swimming at the lake is that the murky water keeps you from seeing how deep it really is. Oftentimes, when you stop to swim it's hard to judge the water’s depth unless you're on a beach, in which case you know that the further you get from shore the deeper the water will be.
Additionally, the glare from the sun on the water can cause you to misjudge distances and think you can easily swim from point A to point B when, in fact, it's too far. As such, it is highly recommended that you always wear a life jacket when swimming in a lake, since there are so many unpredictable factors involved.
Life Jacket Required
Speaking of life jackets, we highly recommend that while the boat is in motion everyone wear a life jacket, especially children under 12 or anyone who does not possess strong swimming skills. This is an important precaution while the boat is in motion, in case of a boating accident or someone falling overboard. And remember, boats should only be driven by licensed drivers and never be driven by someone under the influence of alcohol for optimal safety of all of those on board.
Caution of Currents
Understand that swimming in a lake is not the same as swimming in the more controlled environment of a pool. There are currents, even in a large lake. As well as waves caused by other boats passing by. For everyone’s safety, it is highly recommended that you swim only in designated swimming areas or just off of a shore, where most boats won’t be passing. And be sure to anchor the boat and turn off the motor completely before anyone exits to swim.
This summer, keep your friends and family safe by taking these precautions during lake boating excursions. And remember, every month is water safety month!
Pontoon Boat: Your Floating Stay-Cation
You don't have to go too far to get away.
You, after all, are among the elite. You have the hardware required to bring the party wherever you go. You invested in a floating memory-making machine.
You're a pontoon boat owner.
Leave the "all-inclusive" cruises to the schmos who are willing to settle for cramped cabins, crowded dinners and hack entertainment. Let the landlubbers scour Travelocity for the can't-miss, can't-wait deal of the century that comes along every four days. Let the masses pack their SUVs and head to their secret, pristine vacation hideaway that's a secret to everyone except for all the people who have Facebook.
You're a pontoon boat owner. For you, the vacation starts as soon as you shove off from the dock.
On regular boats, kids get bored quickly because they can't move around. Your floating living room, however, gives them all the stay-cation space they need to spread out and have some fun.
What would you do on vacation? Go fishing? Go water skiing?
Check and double check.
Unlike most boats, with their rigid seating structures, pontoon boats are comfy and cozy. Cuddle up and watch the sunset — or sunrise, depending on your stay-cation itinerary. Grab a pair of binoculars and see what kind of birds or other wildlife you can spy from your maritime sanctuary. Explore a channel or tributary you've never cruised before, or cut the engine and just relax, talk and enjoy each other's company — cell phone and iPad free.
The point is, spring is here. The kids will be out of school soon and a vacation doesn't sound like a bad idea. But you don't need to go very far to get away. When you invested in your pontoon boat, you entered an elite fraternity of adventurers and enthusiasts who don't need to travel to find excitement, adventure and relaxation.
You've got a pontoon boat. All of that goes wherever you go.
- Amy Cabanas
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