DBS when boating during safe boating week – or any time

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DBS says inflatable life jackets are much more likely to be worn by boaters. (Photo by Mike Schoonveld)

National Safe Boating Week is May 22 to 28.  This is just one of dozens of “safety weeks” promoted by the National Safety Council – they also have “safety days” and “safety months” – I suppose based on the inherent “dangers” of participating in various activities. “Walking” gets only one day (April 7th), Ladder safety gets a whole month (March.)

So boating must be an activity with only a relatively moderate risk. That’s great, but as most of the articles and news stories suggest when they are printed or aired at this time of year reminding everyone of National Safe  Boating Week, boating could be even safer.

Most of these broadcasts, videos or articles include a list of safe boating practices which, if religiously practiced, would make boating even more safe. For instance, BoatUS released a short list a few weeks ago for boaters to follow.

  1. Wear a lifejacket.
  2. Use the SCAN technique while operating a boat. SCAN is an awkward acronym for “pay attention!”  (Search-Concentrate-Analyze-Negotiate.)

3.) Have and use the engine cut-off switch (for boats less than 26 feet). This one made the list because a new USCG requirement mandating their use went into affect on April first.

Other organizations have longer lists, I’m sure. My list is much shorter. Want an acronym to remember?  DBS – which stands for Don’t Boat Stupidly.

I thought of calling it UCSWB, but that was too long – Use Common Sense While Boating.

So this year during safe boating week and the rest of the year use common sense and DBS.  Common sense (and the law) requires having a lifejacket available for everyone on board a boat. DBS says, wear the life jackets. Common sense says following my DBS rule will be easier with comfortable life jackets – and when it comes to comfort, nothing beats inflatable PFDs.

Most safe driving rules and suggestions transfer over to boats. DSB says don’t drive drunk, don’t text and drive, don’t leave the driver’s seat untended, and others.

DBS and common sense both say, if it looks unsafe or stupid, it probably is. That means boating in dangerous conditions or going too fast for the conditions, overloading a smaller boat, sitting on the gunwales or bow, and many others.

If boaters and especially boat operators would just remember DBS, maybe boating could go down to only needing a special day instead of a whole week.

Categories: Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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