Alaska Boating & Safety
At Alaska Boat Rental, your enjoyment, satisfaction, and safety is our #1 concern.
Safe, enjoyable boating begins with the proper attitude. According to BoatUS, most accidents occur in good weather. Alaska’s waterways are a dynamic, ever-changing environment. Complacency, over-confidence, carelessness or “amusement park” mentalities are serious liabilities on a boat. Never underestimate the power of Alaska’s cold water. When boating in Alaska, avoid a “day trip” attitude, return when conditions permit and be prepared to stay more than a day if venturing into more remote areas..
Safe boating is everyone’s responsibility. Those new to boating should consider taking a boating course and even experienced boaters should consider a taking refreshers course. Nationwide, eight out of 10 boating fatalities involve boat operators who had not taken a single boating course. We strongly recommend that everyone on the boat take the online Alaska Boaters Education course at www.boat-ed.com/alaska This course is current and covers a lot of relevant information. You can complete it in a few hours.
No one wants injury or accidents to happen – but they do. Being knowledgeable in the areas of first aid and CPR are life saving skills. Download the Alaska Boating Safety Handbook Here.
Alaska Water Temperature Dangers
All of Alaska's waters are considered cold-water environments. This is generally defined as water temperature less than 70°F. Even at it's peak most of Alaska rivers never exceed 60°F. The cold water immersion chart below the time to exhaustion or unconsciousness as well as survival times at various temperatures and immersion times. Boating accidents usually result in hypothermia or drowning, due to cold water immersion and fast currents.
Alaska Weather & Boating Safety
Alaska weather can be harsh and turn an enjoyable boating experience into a life-threatening situation very quickly! Always check the local weather forecast and current weather and water conditions before leaving the house and before getting on the water. NEVER try to outrun a bad weather forecast. It is always better, however inconvenient and disappointing, to wait until conditions improve. Be alert to weather changes, especially the build up of dark, heavy clouds, which indicates wet weather ahead. For detailed weather information, try the following sources:
National Weather Service VHF/FM frequencies of 162.400, 162.425, 162.475 and 162.550 MHz in areas where available.
National Weather Service’s website: www.arh.noaa.gov
Alaska Weather Information Hotline at 1-800-472-0391.
See our Weather page for more information.
Don't overload your boat and be ever watchful of the weather. Be prepared to stay in a safe place until the weather improves.
Wildlife & Personal Safety
One of the great parts of visiting Alaska is encountering wildlife. However, many wildlife encounters can become dangers. Knowledge of bears and proper behavior greatly reduce your risk. Review the information at www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks/safety/bears.htm. Encounters with marine mammals are always an exciting experience. However, federal law protects many marine mammal species. Boaters should stay at least 300 feet away from marine mammals or more if animals appear to change their behavior. Time spent viewing particular animals should be kept to less than 30 minutes. Never try to pursue animals, restrict their path or encircle them. Always leave them a clear escape route. If a marine mammal approaches, put the engine in neutral and let the animal pass. If an animal displays erratic behavior or appears disturbed, cautiously leave the area. Never handle young animals or feed animals. Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
Wilderness & Back Country Adventure Safety
When choosing a remote backcountry adventure, Alaskan boaters are often a long way from assistance and the water is very cold. An unprepared boater is taking unnecessary risks. If you are venturing onto coastal waters, Cook Inlet, or a remote lake, take the time to study maps and information before you go. Take good maps and survival equipment with you. File a Float Plan.
Sound judgment, unimpaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue, is a boater’s most important tool. Boaters often have a choice of whether or not to put themselves and their passengers in a situation that could be beyond their skill or the capability of their boat or equipment. Be flexible in decision making, lives may depend on it. It's easy.
Boating Safety Links: