Commercial boats are crewed by experienced men and women who know the water they’re on. The same can’t be said for every other boat on the water, and when an inexperienced boater puts themselves or others at risk, it can be too late to act by the time your crew realizes it. Here are some tips to spot bad boaters:
Just like signs on the road, buoys in the river – or any body of water – help direct the traffic and keep people away from hazards. Often a buoy is in place to warn off boats from submerged risk. If a vessel is completely ignoring these basics, that could be a sign of an inexperienced captain.
Lack of life jackets
Everyone knows about the importance of life jackets. However, “everyone” typically includes people that spend time on the water. It does not include people “trying out a friend’s boat.” If a boat appears to be utterly devoid of life jackets, they may not understand some of the basics of safety on the water.
Speeding and other risky behavior
Bodies of water have speed limits, and most boaters know that. Ignoring those limits, cutting it close to other boats, leaving significant waves and wakes near man-powered vessels like kayaks or canoes, ignoring rights of way are all signs that the operator either doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t care. Both options are dangerous.
Poor navigation in varying conditions
In good conditions, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to keep a boat in a straight. Even mildly rough waters aren’t that difficult. But a boat struggling with calm water and the occasional wake is an unmistakable sign of inexperience.
Recognition may not help
If any boat ends up causing your crew to make rapid changes to course to avoid an accident, it doesn’t matter how experienced that other boater may be. However, if inexperienced boaters, unlicensed and ignoring common safety procedures, injure themselves in an accident with your boat, then there is a strong chance that your boat and crew will not be liable.
The trick is, however, ensuring your crew always follows the rules.