Compare the risks of boating or yachting to those when you're hurtling down the motorway in your car or flying in an aircraft. Most of us do one or both of the latter with not so much as a second thought.
Although the environment of boating isn't perhaps as crowded and intense and the speed and altitude isn't as extreme, the importance of being safe should not be ignored.
Guilty of turning my back on expecting the unexpected, I never wore a life saver until news of a fatality from a boat in shallow waters jolted me into wearing one each time I set sail.
Hidden currents, depth and temperature of water, quickly changing weather conditions and simple accidents can change the course of events for the worse on what was supposed to be a beautiful, fun time on the water.
Crew or life saver vests, PFD's (Personal Floatation Device's) one for each person aboard, flares, torch etc are some of the basic boat safety equipment needed. These items are relatively inexpensive when you consider the consequences of not having them aboard in an emergency. A mobile phone is a good basic means of communicating with land but the signal can often be lost a short distance from shore. If going further out to sea then a VHF radio is a must. These require a licence, available on line and from various places such as a post office.
Safety equipment can be purchased but there is also good personal conduct safety advice available. Much of it is common sense however the professionals will offer tips and lifesaving information that may not be thought of as important or readily coming to mind.
So make your boating or yachting experiences repeatedly safe and enjoyable. Invest in some training and get clued up on boat safety