Boating Safety Tips for Labor Day Weekend

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CLEARWATER, FL (August 30, 2023) – The Safe Boating Campaign, a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating led by the National Safe Boating Council, shares key tips for boaters to responsibly enjoy the high boating-traffic Labor Day weekend.

“This Labor Day weekend keep safety in mind as you enjoy the last days of summer on the water,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “Choose to boat responsibly and protect yourself and others by wearing a life jacket, using an engine cut-off switch, and never boating under the influence.”

Don’t wait to put on a life jacket in an emergency – always wear it. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket – every time. A stowed life jacket is no use in an emergency. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three out of every four recreational boating fatalities, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

An engine cut-off switch is a proven safety device to stop a powerboat engine should the operator, or even passenger, unexpectedly fall overboard. Using the engine cut-off switch prevents propeller injuries and deaths – and, it’s the law. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that in 2022, there were 173 propeller accidents resulting in 41 deaths and 182 injuries.

Boating under the influence is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Boating can magnify the side effects of alcohol use, including impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination. Never boat under the influence, and always designate a sober skipper.

“Be extra vigilant while boating this holiday weekend, and assign a lookout to watch for others on the water and keep a close eye on children,” said Phillips.

Boaters are encouraged to remember these additional safety tips as they head out on the water this Labor Day weekend.

  • Check equipment. Schedule a free vessel safety check with local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working, and in good condition.
  • Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment on board.
  • Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during the excursion. Follow local weather advisories.
  • Know what’s going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents are caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  • Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area, local boating speed zones, and always travel at a safe speed.
  • Keep in touch. Have more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can all be important devices in an emergency.

The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The campaign offers a variety of free and paid resources to support local boating safety education efforts. Learn more at

About the National Safe Boating Council
Established in 1958, the National Safe Boating Council is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach, and training. For more information about NSBC programs and professional development opportunities, visit


Media Contact:

Yvonne Pentz, National Safe Boating Council,, 440-670-1294