With the summer here, it means many people in Ohio will head to Lake Erie and other local areas to go boating. This can be a great way to spend time with family members and to enjoy yourself on the water, but boating can also be dangerous.

To stay safe this summer, there are some basic boating tips you should follow. Here are four to get you through the boating season safely.

Take a boating course

To start with, one option is to take a boating course. You’ll learn the “rules of the road” for being on the water and be able to learn how to use your boat well. You may learn emergency techniques that help you if someone goes overboard or there is a problem with your vessel.

Get to know the weather

Always have a weather radio on hand, and look at the forecast before you go out. You should have a plan to get to safety if there is a thunderstorm or if heavy waves get too high.

Wear life jackets

Always make sure your guests are wearing life jackets while on board and the boat is moving. If you hit something or someone goes overboard, a life jacket could make a difference. It may be the difference between drowning or surviving until help arrives.

Don’t drink and drive

Finally, avoid drinking and driving. Even though many people do drink aboard boats, it’s better to stay sober. Drink plenty of water to avoid heat exhaustion and other issues.

These are four tips to help you stay safer on the water. If another vessel does hit you, remember that they may need to cover your financial losses.