Learning the ropes of safe boating is essential before detaching from the dock. There are approximately 737 000 registered boats in Finland, and Finland's Sailing and Boating Organization has over 60 000 members nationwide - that's a lot of traffic at sea!
Even the most experienced boaters make mistakes and that's why it's important to occasionally revise the safety rules.
We have gathered an easy-to-remember boater’s checklist that contains the vital precautions you need to do to stay safe at sea:
1. Use a life jacket
Many people who drowned would've survived if they had a correctly dressed life jacket on. With less than twenty euros you can secure you own and your family's safety.
2. Check mandatory equipment
- An approved life jacket or buoyancy aid for each person on board the craft. Life jackets and buoyancy aids must be of a size and load-bearing capacity appropriate to the size and weight of the person.
- Oar or paddle or anchor with ropes.
- Drainage pump or other means of draining water.
- A hand fire extinguisher, duly inspected every year. The craft must be equipped with a flame burner, an inboard or stern drive engine, or an outboard engine of more than 25 kilowatts.
3. Review the situation - don't let the weather surprise you
Check the forecast and dress accordingly. In case of a heavy storm, reconsider going out on the water. Let your loved ones know when you're leaving and keep your phone with you, preferably with the 112 application installed.
4. Alcohol and boating don't mix
In Finland 150-200 people drown annually, with over half of them being under the influence. The limit of waterway traffic intoxication is one per mille, but it’s forbidden to drive a boat with lower level of intoxication if it compromises the safety of you or others.
Good seafaring requires responsibility for the safety of people and ships. Make sure your own knowledge and skills are up to date. If necessary, can you read the nautical chart if other navigation aids don’t work? Do you know you are obliged to give way at sea? In addition to basic first aid skills these are the skills every boater should know.