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It has been more than a year since the pandemic broke out, and everyone is looking for ways to get back up on their feet and regain what little normalcy life can offer.

The pandemic derailed every aspect of our lives in unimaginable ways. The stringent lockdowns travel bans, closure of non-essential establishments and leisure, all for the sake of social distancing to keep the virus at bay.

In the wake of keeping our physical health from catching the virus, its flipside is mental health issues. Keeping your sanity intact in the comfort of your home for long months is enough for anyone to catch cabin fever. Even those who are self-professed homebodies are already sick and tired of staying indoors. A little exposure to the outdoors for a breath of fresh air and a dose of Vitamin D surely won’t hurt. Waiting for the vaccine rollout is one of the longest seasons everyone had to endure. But while it is still pandemic season, the good news is people are taking recreational outings with caution. One popular choice: recreational boating. 

According to Globe Newswire, while the recreational boat market suffered a loss in the first half of 2020, it gained traction during the second half due to growing participation in boating activities. It is also reported that the recreational boat market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% or $54.9 billion in 2027.

The demand for recreational boating increased since it is considered a close-knit outdoor activity best enjoyed with family or a small group of people. With recreational boating, a group can safely practice social distancing from other people while enjoying the outdoors for a few hours.

Consider looking into small cruising boats such as water sports boats; better yet, rent a pontoon boat for a day. It is the perfect recipe for an enjoyable summer vacation. Listed below are some reminders for a safe summer boating this pandemic season.

1. Check the weather forecast

Refrain from going out if there is a chance of thunderstorms or strong winds. You went outdoors to enjoy some sun and a breath of fresh air for the entire day, not to greet the strong winds and torrential rains.

If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that life is pretty much like the weather—unpredictable. If you are on the boat and the weather suddenly changed, return to your respective station as soon as possible. The worst that could happen is getting stuck in the middle of a raging storm in the lake.

2. Make a reservation

Even recreational establishments impose limits on the number of visitors to maintain social distancing. It is best to plan your vacation months before. There’s a high chance that you are competing with several people who would also like to take a day off and enjoy.

Avoid the crowd and make a smart choice: book a date and rent a pontoon boat in advance for a hassle-free summer boating experience.

3. Check the area for COVID-19 infections

 

Before heading out, it’s best to check the places en route to your destination for COVID-19 infections. While the recreational facility itself is safe and meets the prescribed health requirement to operate. Its vicinity and the community may have rising cases.

Do your due diligence and check for COVID-19 infections in the community to be safe. Luckily, The University of Chicago’s interactive map shows daily COVID-19 cases by county. If the cases are rising, ditch your recreational activity for a later date. Or better yet, look for another area where cases are relatively low.

4. Inspect your boat for life jackets, issues

Finally, you made it to your destination. You are now comfortably seated inside the vessel, ready to splash the docks, head off in the middle of the lake, and be serene with nature. But before you sail off, it’s best to do a last-minute inspection of your boat to prevent any untoward glitches.

Check your engine thoroughly. You can begin with its fuel levels and make sure you have reserve tanks. You can also inspect for possible leaks or issues.

Are all the lights and electrical conductors working properly? Are the life jackets enough for the number of people on board? Check for possible damages. If you have any issues with your rented boat, request a replacement. The last thing you want to happen is for you to be charged with fines for damages that didn’t occur under your supervision.

5. Don’t drink and boat

This one is a no-brainer. You may be on a summer vacation, but health and safety come first. Operating a boat under the influence is illegal. Even if you are not the operator, be a responsible tourist. Avoid bringing alcoholic beverages on the vessel to avoid people getting drunk or tipsy.

6. Always wear your life jackets at all costs

 

Even if you are safely tucked in your boat, you can never be too safe in open water. Emergencies and accidents happen unexpectedly. Your life jacket is your safety blanket. More importantly, make sure that your life jacket is the right fit.

You can never be too prepared for your summer boating experience, so brush up on your boating safety procedures provided by The U.S. Coast Guard as well.

Summer is still on

Who says summer plans are officially canceled? Rent a boat with your close-knit favorite people. And together, get some air and sun. Maintain social distancing, always sanitize or wash your hands, and wear your face masks. Remember to follow the aforementioned friendly reminders for a safe summer boating experience.

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Jason Scott
Jason Scott
Jason Scott is a Recreation Activities Coordinator for Westside Recreation, a boating & jetski rental company in Arizona. Even outside work, Jason enjoys travelling, extreme adventure, and water sports.

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