Stability is very important when boarding a small boat. Wearing a life jacket when boarding is a common-sense safety precaution. Passengers should steady the boat from the dock or shore while the operator boards. Maintain three points of contact when boarding and moving about. Once in, the operator should steady the boat for others. When boarding, everyone should keep his weight as low and as close to the boat’s center as possible. Holding onto the gunwales is the best way for boarders to keep steady.
Equipment and gear should be loaded onto the boat one item at a time, handing it to someone already on board. The load should be evenly distributed and secured so it doesn’t shift.