As a Kentucky resident who boats, be it in big or small bodies of water, there are safety precautions that you should take. Boating can be dangerous if done improperly, especially if some parts of the boat are not manufactured or maintained well.
About.com suggests making a checklist of things to go over before you set sail. This checklist should include several things before you get on the boat at all, such as checking the forecast, dressing warmly to decrease chances of hypothermia, and alerting someone who will stay on land to your boating plans. This way, if something does go wrong while you are in the water, someone will be aware of your unusual absence.
Next, you should ensure that everything is as it should be. This includes preparing the fenders and dock lines, checking the drain plug, and making sure both the fuel and oil levels are safe. The engine should be inspected for loose wiring or damage before it is started. Bilges should also be inspected for any potential leaks. If you smell any suspicious fumes around the cabin, do not start the engine as this could indicate a gas leak. If ignited, it could lead to an explosion. If everything checks out and you are able to turn on the engine, you should then check the gauges and the cooling water outflow.
Once you have ensured that the boat and all of its parts are up and running as they should be, it will be safe for you to take your boat out to the water.