8 Marina Safety Tips for Marina Owners

marina safety

8 Marina Safety Tips

If you’re a marina owner, safety should be your No. 1 concern, even over profits. If an accident or tragedy happens at your marina facility, it could be enough to put you out of business. If the lawsuit doesn’t do it, the loss of business would. No one wants to spend time at a marina that has a reputation for not being safe, after all. All it takes is one tragedy to tarnish your reputation forever. It’s better for your business to make safety the most important part of your marina services.

You can and should institute a marina safety program, and urge your guests and staff to follow it. Make sure to provide plenty of safety information to your guests through digital signage, pamphlets, etc. You can also promote marina safety on your website and social media channels. To help you, Signal Connect reached out to the many marina owners to get the scoop on the best safety practices. We took the eight most important points for marina safety and shared them here:

1. Marina Safety on the Docks

Your docks can be a potential hazard if your crew and guests don’t utilize proper marina safety.  To keep your marina management team safe on the docks, require them to wear non-slip shoes.  This will reduce the typical slip-and-fall accidents that normally happen on partially wet docks.  You should also encourage your guests to wear non-slip shoes, and even sell these shoes in your marina store.  You also should require your marina staff to keep the docks clear of anything that someone could stumble over or cause them to fall.  Remember, if a guest gets hurt on something your team leaves behind, you could be held liable! 

2. Reduce Fire Hazards

With so much fuel, oil, and electrical accessories, the average marina could become a fire trap if not properly maintained.  Do a thorough sweep of your docks, boatyard, and anywhere else that might present a fire hazard.  You and your crew should remember this simple phrase: “If you see a fire hazard, fix it!”  It’s also very important that your crew and guests know where the fire extinguishers and other safety equipment is kept in case of emergencies.

Reminding your guests to have their boats checked out by your repair personnel is a good way to prevent fires.  No matter how well you scoured your marina property for fire hazards, each boat at your dock could be a blaze waiting to happen.  Here are the most common causes of boat fires:

  • AC and DC wiring
  • Appliances
  • Engine/transmission overheating
  • Fuel leaks
  • Stoves

If you offer boat repair and maintenance at your marina, push these services to your guests.  Don’t think of it as trying to milk them of a few extra dollars, because it’s not.  Considering all the ways a boat can catch fire, these services are more like an insurance policy against disaster.  While older boats present a big risk, accidents also happen on newer vessels.  Urge everyone to get these things checked out.  You could even offer discounts to your loyal guests.

3. No Swimming at the Marina!

Never, under any circumstances, should anyone swim, dive, or wade in the waters of your marina.  Docks and boats have electrical components on them, and sometimes these devices and power sources release charges into the water.  This can cause swimmers to succumb to electrical shock drowning, which is a real thing and a huge danger.  Having an electrician check out the equipment on your dock is always a good idea.  You should also have plenty of signage that warns guests about the dangers of electrical shock drowning.  Hang plenty of these signs in and around your docks to remind guests of this danger.

4. Remind Guests to Wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

One of the biggest causes of tragedies on the water is people not wearing their PFDs.  Also known as life jackets, life vests, and life preservers, these safety devices can the last line of defense against drowning.  Unfortunately, some people minimize the possible risks to their health and the safety of their friends and family.  In many states, children are required to wear PFDs when boating.  Even if it’s not a law where you live, you should always remind guests to protect their children. 

Have you thought about participating in the Life Jacket Loaner Program?  For the past two decades, this program has provided an easy way for parents to borrow child-sized PFDs.  Marinas that participate in this program get life jackets, storage, and promotional materials at no cost.  It’s a great way to keep your guests’ children safe while they go boating with their parents.  If you’re interested in taking part, you can apply on the BoatU.S. Foundation website.

Children aren’t the only ones who should wear life vests.  Adults need to protect themselves, too, especially if they engage in the following activities:

  • Boating at night or in reduced visibility
  • Navigating congested waterways
  • Boating alone
  • During rough weather conditions
  • Sailing in hazardous waters

5. Personal Locator Beacons

Do you sell personal locator beacons at your marina store?  If not, it’s something you should think about, especially if you have long-term guests who often take their boats out.  These electronic devices are typically attached to PFDs and life vests.  When activated, the beacon sends an emergency signal to the Coast Guard using a satellite system.  Rescue crews get the exact GPS coordinates so they can safely rescue anyone lost in the water.  These devices fit comfortably in many of today’s modern inflatable life vests, which you probably sell in your marina store. 

6. Monitor the Weather for Marina Guests

Since your business revolves around boating, you should have a few ways to track the weather.  It could be a computer program, a weather radio with NOAA alerts, or a combination of the two.  You must be the first line of defense for your marina guests.  If you know a storm is heading your way, it’s up to you to warn your guests about this weather formation, and urge them to stay ashore until the weather passes.  The last thing you want is for your guests to head out into the water when you know it’s not safe for them to do so.  Tie in these weather reports with specials at your marina bar or clubhouse so everyone can have fun while they stay ashore.

7. Designated Skipper Program

As a marina owner, have you heard of the Designated Skipper program?  It’s similar to the Designated Driver program, and encourages boat owners to protect their passengers and vessels by taking a pledge to stay sober while on the water.  Marina owners visit the program’s website to download promotional materials, or order a free Designated Skipper Kit.  This includes stickers, wristbands, coasters and other items that promote the Designated Skipper program and boating safety.  It’s a good way to remind guests about the dangers of drinking and boating.

8. Fill Out a Float Plan

Do you require your guests to fill out a float plan?  This is a document that guests complete before each boat trip.  The information includes a description of the boat and equipment, a list of who’s on board, and emergency contact information.  A float plan also lists where your guests are going, when they expect to arrive, and when they plan to return.  These records should be filed with your marina management.  In case of an emergency, you and your marina staff will have all the important information that you need to pass on to the Coast Guard.  To get involved, check with your local state offices and the Coast Guard.

Your Marine Electronics Source: Signal Connect

Signal Connect is your source for DIRECTV for boats, marinas, and oil rigs.  We’re also your connection to the marine electronics your guests need to stay safe on the water.  Solid Signal, a division of our company, is an online electronics retailer.  On Solidsignal.com, we carry a huge selection of marine electrical products.  You’ll find everything from marine radios to signal boosters, sacrificial anodes, and more.  This is what your boatyard mechanic needs to help maintain your guests’ vessels, big or small.  Best of all, you’ll get the best customer support when you shop with us.  Ordering online is fast, secure, and convenient.  If you have questions, any one of our U.S.-based support staff is ready to help you. Just give Solid Signal a call at 877-312-4547.