According to the United States Coast Guard, approximately 4,000 boating accidents occur each year, resulting in 600 deaths and more than 2,600 injuries. And all too often, these accidents are 100% preventable, had some basic boating safety guidelines been followed. Below are some tips to stay safe while enjoying the water.
1. Keep Boats Maintained
A well-maintained boat is a safe boat. Unfortunately, many accidents occur because a boat is poorly maintained and therefore runs into trouble on the water. Ensure the oil is changed as needed and that regular inspections are completed on any boat.
2. Follow Boat Capacity
All boats have a maximum weight capacity, and this weight limit should not be taken lightly. A boat filled over its designed capacity is at a much greater risk of capsizing. Have fun and stay safe by knowing what the capacity of your vessel is and sticking to it.
3. Keep an Eye on the Sky
Bad weather accounts for many boating accidents, injuries, and deaths each year. Always check the forecast before heading out on the water. If skies begin to look dark or severe weather is spotted in the distance, it’s best to return to the dock. Knowing when to call it a day could mean the difference between life and death.
4. Take a Safety Course
Education is king. However, many states don’t have any specific requirements when it comes to having boat owners pass safety courses. Even though it may not be required in your state, make sure you know what to do in the case of an emergency.
5. Never Drink and Boat
Some people mistakenly believe that they can drink and then operate a boat without any repercussions. In reality, drinking and boating is just as illegal as drinking and driving—and being caught over-the-limit while boating can result in jail time.
6. Use Life Jackets
Some states have specific laws requiring boat occupants to wear life jackets at all times, whereas some states do not. Either way, the United States Coast Guard does require that all boats be equipped with an adequate number of life vests, and that occupants under a certain age wear them at all times.
7. Get a CO2 Detector
Carbon monoxide is a less common but still possible problem that can occur on a boat. To protect those on board from high levels of carbon monoxide gas, then, it’s a good idea to invest in a CO2 detector to keep on-board.
8. Keep an Emergency Radio
An emergency radio is a must; they’re cheap and will alert boaters of possible hazards. Always keep one on the boat and be sure to use it if the need arises. In this case, being prepared is very simple, so there is no need to be caught unprepared in this situation.
9. Watch the Speed
Speeding is not only dangerous, but against the law. It is possible to be “pulled over” and cited for speeding in a boat. It’s also a very easy way to get into an accident and injure yourself and others.
10. Use a GPS at All Times
Last but not least, boaters should know where they are at all times; it’s easy to get lost when boating, and getting lost can quickly turn into a very dangerous situation.
Have you or someone you know been involved in a boating accident? Contact Ginnis & Krathen today for a free case evaluation to see if you have a case. Finding out if you have a case is simple and fast. Our attorneys work closely with you and specialize in a wide range of injury cases. Contact us today at (954) 833-7044 for more information.