For many people, owning and operating a boat can be a fun recreational activity and even a way to travel and see different parts of the world. But going out into the ocean can be dangerous, and it requires lots of preparation to ensure safety and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Let's take a look at some of things you can do to safely enjoy your marine vessel:

Wear a life jacket – According to the U.S. Coast Guard's 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, 533 of 758 boating fatalities that year resulted from drowning, and 84 percent of those victims were not wearing life jackets. Because of these alarming statistics, the U.S. Coast Guard says that wearing a life jacket is the most important thing boaters can do to ensure that they are safe in the case of an unfortunate accident.

Learn about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning – Did you know that the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can feel similar to seasickness or even being drunk? Breathing in large amounts of this gas can lead to death, so it's important to take it seriously. Before going out on a boat trip, it's important to know where the exhaust outlets are located on your vessel, test the carbon monoxide alarms and listen for any change in the sound of your exhaust which could indicate a problem.

Prepare a float plan – Whether you're going to be on a week-long trip or you're just going out on the ocean for a couple hours, it is recommended that you prepare a written float plan to leave with your yacht club or with a trusted friend or family member. By outlining where you are going and when, you can make sure people have a general idea of where you are so they can notify the Coast Guard in case you need to be rescued.

In addition to keeping yourself and the others aboard your boat safe, it's also important to take the proper steps to ensure that your vessel itself is protected in the case of an accident. Boat owners may want to reach out to a marine insurance agency to gain access to the highest-rated providers in the industry.

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