Now that summer is here and the kids are home from school, many families will be taking to the lakes and beaches of California to go boating. If you plan to go boating this summer with your family, it is important to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to avoid a boating accident. Below, we explain a few ways boat operators and passengers can prevent boating accidents.
Never Boat Drunk
The U.S. Coast Guard warns boat operators that alcohol is the leading contributing cause of boating accident fatalities. When you are out in the hot sun and water all day long, it can exacerbate the effects of the alcohol you consume, making it easy for an operator to unknowingly get too drunk. If you are operating a boat, pay close attention to the amount of alcohol you drink, or better yet, commit to not drinking. If you are stopped by police and are over the legal limit, you can get arrested for BUI. Another concern you should have, however, is other boat drivers who have been drinking while boating.
Onboard Safety Equipment
In order to help prevent against injury, you should take efforts to protect yourself, your friends, and your family. Before departing, make sure you have life jackets and other flotation devices available for everyone who will be onboard the vessel. The Coast Guard estimates that 70% of boat accident deaths are caused by drowning, and that 84% of those who drown didn’t have a life jacket on.
You should also keep the flowing onboard safety equipment available at all times on your boat:
- First-Aid Kit & Emergency Supplies
- Boat Lights
- Fire Extinguisher
Make sure to maintain the quality of your safety equipment. Faulty boating equipment plays a significant role in a high number of boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Closely Monitor Weather & Water Conditions
Environmental issues like the following can contribute to a boating accident:
- The weather
- Congested waterways
- Problems with dams
- Missing navigation aids
- Hazardous waters
You should check reports for weather and water conditions before you head out on the water with your family. If the weather conditions start to get worse while you are on the water, you should turn back to shore as soon as possible.
Carefully Load Passengers & Gear
Unfortunately, many boating accidents take place before you even get on the water. From difficulty anchoring to overloading cargo, there are many factors to be aware of when you are getting on a boating vessel. To avoid a capsizing accident, carefully follow the loading guidelines for your boat and pay close attention to the distribution of weight.
Take a Boat Safety Course
Even if you are an experienced boat operator, it is always a good idea to refresh what you know about boating safety. The Coast Guard says that close to 90% of fatal boating accidents involve an operator who had no safety training.
Always Be Watchful & Vigilant
It is crucial for boat operators to always be aware of what is taking place on their vessel and in the waters around them. Make sure passengers are enjoying themselves safely, but don’t be distracted by onboard diversions. Always focus on the boat’s movements, the water and weather conditions, and any other vessels in your immediate area.
Use a Safe Speed
Boats traveling at excessive speeds are at high risk for being involved in a boating accident. Obey speed limits and travel at a safe speed, especially in bad weather conditions.
In summary, here are the most important tips for safely boating:
- Never boat drunk
- Ensure your boat is stocked with safety equipment for each passenger
- Keep a close watch on weather conditions
- Be vigilant while loading gear and passengers
- Take a boat safety course before you get started
- Always be watchful & vigilant
- Drive a safe speed for the area
Following these helpful tips can reduce the chances of you and your family being involved in a serious boating accident this summer.
Have you or someone you know been injured in a boating accident? If so, you should contact the Fresno boat accident lawyers at Fowler | Helsel | Vogt. Our legal team can review your case and create a legal strategy to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Call (559) 900-1280 to set up your free case evaluation today.