Staying Safe on the Deck When Renting a Boat

Staying Safe on the Deck When Renting a Boat

Staying safe on the deck when renting a boat is paramount, and it is wise to advise caution to any customers when they are awaiting their turn. Being on a boat always entails a certain degree of risk. There is always a possibility of an accident or unforeseen occurrence leading to injury or death. Safety should always be a primary concern regarding personal watercraft rental.


But it isn’t necessary to be in the water to be at risk. Ultimately, staying safe on the deck is important. Even standing or lounging on deck can be dangerous, especially when not following standard precautions. 

Just how dangerous is a boat’s deck? A surprising number of incidents occur when the victim is standing or sitting on the deck, often unaware of imminent danger. Many injuries and deaths result from neglect, carelessness, or ignorance of safety protocols and equipment use.

Staying Safe on the Deck

People can avoid incidents by simply following standard deck safety practices. For instance, a quick checklist for identifying and addressing potential hazards might include:

  1. Removing anything that could cause slips, trips, or falls
  2. Replacing anything that could cause slips, trips, or falls.
  3. Fixing loose wires and electrical components that could pose a fire or shock hazard
  4. Tightening displaced gratings
  5. Securing wobbly railings
  6. Clearing out all blockages and obstructions
  7. Ensuring adequate lighting
  8. Installing as many handholds as necessary

A thorough risk assessment of possible issues could significantly reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety onboard a rental vessel. A deck’s physical characteristics are also important, as well as how they could increase the potential for injuries.

Boat decks are pretty much just floating platforms. Weather and environmental conditions can wear them down over time, so they aren’t the most stable surfaces for standing or walking. And when the boat lists rolls or lurches, there is always a risk of slipping, falling, or being thrown overboard. Most boat-related injuries result from slipping or losing balance.

There are methods to minimize risks and improve safety on boats. Here are a few tips:

Remove Clutter


One of the best ways to ensure safety on deck is to keep it free of clutter as much as possible. Common hazards include ropes, tools, ladders, bins, and anything else that is often left onboard.


It is hazardous to leave items that could roll around and get in the way. These should be fastened or stowed away to prevent injury.


Apply Anti-Slip Paint


Decks are usually slippery if untreated. Applying anti-slip paint or similar coating material is an excellent idea to improve the surface’s gripping quality. Most paints are easy to apply and contain fine particles that help maintain grip when using appropriate footwear.


Alternatively, dock management can install grip pads on areas of the deck where slipping accidents frequently occur. Management can use these pads with anti-slip material for optimum gripping.


Clean the Deck Regularly


Apart from removing clutter, the deck requires regular cleaning. Even if a worker has applied anti-slip paint, dirt, grime, and grease buildup can reduce the coating’s ability to maintain a grip. Therefore, they should clean it thoroughly to prevent accidents.


Any solutions used for cleaning should be the non-skid variety. These products won’t leave a slippery residue and won’t damage the deck’s surface.


Use Appropriate Footwear


It is vital to wear appropriate footwear as much as possible when on a boat. While going barefoot or using flip-flops and sandals is standard practice on a watercraft, these can significantly increase the chances of slipping or falling. 


Some shoes and sandals are designed specifically for boating. The best types have non-slip soles and secure lacing features that improve stability.


Attach Safety Lines


Safety lines should be installed and used as needed. These features are essential for carrying out repair and maintenance work.


Decks can be dangerous places if there are poor maintenance and safety practices. Following the tips above will hopefully reduce the risk of accidents and help ensure a safe boating experience.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.