So you want to explore your national park on the water? It is important that you prepare both yourself and your water vessel for the trip before you head out. Learn how to get ready for your aquatic adventure:
- Register your vessel. Go to your state boating authority for details on vessel registration and operation requirements, regulations, fees, inspections.
Educate yourself on boating safety! Check with your state boating office to see if there is required coursework or certifications for your boating activity. Take a boating safety course to learn more about water vessel operation and water safety!
Make sure there is always someone on board who can operate the vessel. It is important that others in your group also know how to safely operate the vessel, in case the operator is unable to drive.
Have the required equipment onboard. Federal and state laws requires that your vessel have certain equipment onboard. This includes important safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, life jackets, etc. If any of these required items are missing from your vessel or are not functional, you could receive a citation and be escorted back to the dock.
Pack the 10 Essentials. The 10 essentials can help you be prepared for minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays. They include items such as extra food and water, emergency shelter, and first aid kit. Have dry clothing ready on board just in case someone goes overboard. Hypothermia can set in quickly, even when it's not very cold outside.