Boat safety: basic tips for being safe when in a marina

Safety tips to keep in mind at the marina

Safety tips to keep in mind at the marina - Credit: Archant

In response to the rising number of boaters buying moorings, British Waterways Marinas Ltd has issued some simple but important safety tips

Over the past few years, the number of people who have purchased boat moorings have increased due to a large demand of people using boats as primary homes. The number of boats registered to be moored has increased by nearly 60% over the past 5 years. With so many people living aboard a boat, here are our top seven basic safety tips and rules for making the most of your boat.

Be weather-wise

This may seem an obvious tip but being weather wise when living aboard a boat is crucial for boat safety. You’ll also want to consider protecting your boat from any harsh weather conditions. Most people tend to use a boat cover throughout the year whether it’s rain, snow or ice. A winter cover should keep the water, snow and ice out, and prevent excess condensation, which results in mildew. Removing dampness and mildew from a boat can be costly, but by covering your boat properly, it can help prevent future expenses.

Shore power cables

It’s only safe when shore power cables are designed and sold for use with boats. Additionally, you must keep on top of checking the condition of the cable prior to each use and replace it if it shows any signs of damage. Likewise, if you notice any strands of cable exposed, do not use.

To make sure you’re using the cable safely, be sure to connect the boat end of the shore power cable first and then the shore supply end. Then always disconnect the shore cable at the shore end first and the boat end last. Be sure to check that your connected cable can’t fall in the water.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

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Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as the silent killer. This odourless and colourless gas can cause a lot of harm, both inside and outside your boat. It is vitally important that you install and maintain CO alarms and stay away from exhaust fumes. If you’re spending the day in a cabin, be sure to get fresh air frequently, by opening the windows and getting outside, as the symptoms of seasickness and CO poisoning are very similar.

Create a float plan

If you’re planning a day sailing around the inland waterways, creating a float plan is an effective way to keep safe. There are different ways to creating a float plan, some choose to inform a person who will not be onboard the boat. This could be a member of staff at the local marina or a friend. Your float plan which should include:

- the names, addresses and phone numbers of all passengers

- your boat’s registration

- the itinerary for the trip and how long you plan on being away


Any days out sailing the inland waterways, it is vital you and all passengers are wearing a lifejacket. This is where most of the safety errors begin, those who live on a boat make the mistake of not wearing a lifejacket while out on deck. If you’re near water you should be wearing one. It is also important that each person on the boat has a lifejacket.

Getting on and off your boat

While this may seem self-explanatory, many accidents can occur when boarding your boat incorrectly. Simple safety steps can be taken to ensure that accidents are minimal, such as using a hand rail to steady yourself as you leave the boat onto the dock.

Securing your boat to the mooring

Being able to securely moor your boat is one of the most important skills a boater possesses. Yet this is something that can be done poorly, putting you and others at risk. Mooring includes three parts, the first is the anchor, then linking a ride to the anchor. This is where you tie your boat too. The third will be a drifting gadget, which will raise the rode so that you can access it. Bonus tip: you can never have enough lines when it comes to docking.