Tens of millions of Americans take part in boating activities every year. They love the sun on their face and being out on the open water. Some men, women, and children enjoy fishing. Others love to water ski or take a pleasure ride.
Regardless of why people go out on the water, they need to ensure they remain safe when doing so. Boating accidents can happen even when the operator takes steps to avoid them. How can you avoid being injured in a boating accident and reduce the risk of one happening?
Maintenance and Inspections
Individuals need to inspect their boats prior to taking them out on the water. Look for fuel leaks, and ensure all equipment works properly. This includes the steering, throttle, and fuel lines. Furthermore, follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and winterize the boat each year.
People turn to AAA or a towing company when they run out of gas on a highway. Handing a similar situation while out on the water requires more effort on their part. This situation could result in a person being stranded indefinitely. Always overestimate how much gas you will need for a boat ride to ensure there is ample fuel for any unexpected situation.
The United States Coast Guard reports alcohol remains the leading cause of boating accident deaths. Twenty-three percent of deaths attributed to a boating accident in 2019 involved alcohol use by the deceased. The sun and water increase the effects of alcohol, and boat operators may get drunk and not know it. Avoid drinking while boating to decrease the odds of an accident and an accompanying arrest for boating while intoxicated.
Know the Weather
Check the weather before heading out with your boat. Severe thunderstorms endanger boaters and can develop at any time. If dark clouds appear on the horizon, head to shore immediately. Furthermore, carry warm clothing in case the temperature drops quickly to reduce the risk of hypothermia.
Wear a Life Jacket
Boaters often forego a life jacket because they know how to swim. Don’t make this mistake. Always wear safety equipment when on the water, as a person may be knocked unconscious if they are thrown overboard. They could drown before regaining consciousness. Furthermore, wear an emergency cut-off switch lanyard. The device stops the boat if you are thrown overboard.
Maintain a safe speed at all times when operating a boat. Many people speed at night and cannot see clearly when doing so. They may run into an obstacle, such as a sandbar, and run aground. This creates a dangerous situation, as running aground isn’t as much of an issue as the sudden stop.
This stop could lead to injuries to anyone on the boat.
Boat operators should take part in an accredited boating safety course before going out on the water the first time. The U.S. Coast Guard reports the majority of boating accidents to occur as a result of a lack of proper training. The risk of a boating fatality also increases significantly when the operator lacks training. Choose a boater safety course that is accredited by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Enjoy your time out on the water. With the steps listed above, boaters find it easier to achieve this goal. Precautionary measures pay for themselves when all participants return to shore safely.