Knowledge of basic boating safety can be the difference between a fun time out on the water and an absolute disaster. Boating safety consists of more than the actions you take on the boat; in fact, it begins the moment you prepare to drive your boat down to the water.

The first element of boating safety begins before your boat even hits the water. Before you leave, make sure that your boat holds all the necessary safety equipment. Make sure that you have life jackets on board, as well as a fire extinguisher and a horn that works. Next, check the boat's exterior and motor. Make sure all of the fluid levels are normal and that nothing on the exterior is awry. Finally, check your boat trailer. Check for tire issues, wiring problems or parts that are showing wear and tear. Replace bad or worn-out parts with reliable, high-quality parts.

Once you are out on the water, it is important to be aware of your surroundings, as other boats come up quickly. Minimize distractions while you are driving, and never mix alcohol into the equation. Keep an eye on the weather as well, as it can change quickly while you are out on the water.

Treat boating safety with the same seriousness as vehicle safety. Maintain your equipment, do all necessary repairs and make sure you have adequate emergency equipment on board. Boat safely on the water by being aware of other boaters, minimizing distractions and not involving alcohol. This is especially important as many waterways have only a few rules.