Approximately 74 million Americans engage in recreational boating each year. National Safety Council. With Memorial Day Weekend approaching at the end of May and the summer season beginning in June, we can expect that many people will be spending time enjoying the warm temperatures, whether it is at the beach, pool, or out boating. And while there is no doubt that going out for a boat ride is an exciting time for family and friends, it is also a time to be cautious and careful as an accident could ruin the family fun.
For those who plan to go out for a boat ride soon, there are certain safety precautions you should be taking regardless the level of experience you have with boating. If you are wondering what types of safety precautions you should be taking, her are a few for you to consider and hopefully implement.
- Always wear a life jacket and require anyone else traveling onboard with you to wear one as well. I know…I know. Nobody wants to wear a personal floatation device on the lake. How about we compromise and at least wear it while the boat is moving? Did you know that in 2014, 78% of boating deaths were due to drowning and 84% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket? National Safety Council. We all know that life jackets may not be the coolest accessories in the world, but neither are cargo shorts, and those still are being worn regularly, accompanied by white socks and crocs by America’s middle-aged father population. And remember the goal is to have fun AND return home safe.
- Be sure you have all essentials with you on the boat. Some vital items you will want to have include: additional lifejackets, airtight cooler, first aid kit, motion sickness medication, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen (seriously it is better than unintentionally becoming a Bob the Tomato look-a-like), towels, visual distress signals, and a fire extinguisher. See Allstate Insurance.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Because alcohol affects your judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, you drastically increase your chances of falling overboard or engaging in an accident with another boater when you consume alcohol. Regardless of what “the boys” may say, driving a high-powered boat while drinking is not a time for you to send it. The wonderous beverage known as Arnold Palmer was invented for a reason.
- Take a safety course. Although it might sound unnecessary, the NSC states that seven out of 10 boating incidents are caused by operator error. Therefore, if you are going to be the one in charge of operating the vessel, be sure you are equipped to handle the job. You would not want an un-licensed person to drive a car, so why would you want somebody untrained to be driving a boat around while you are trying to get rid of your farmer tan? At a minimum, make sure that all drivers are well acquainted with the safety and operation of the vessel before getting behind the wheel. Your life may depend on it.
- Familiarize yourself with the dangers associated with carbon monoxide. The NSC says that “this odorless, colorless poisonous gas is emitted by all combustion engines and onboard motor generators.” This is especially true in vessels with enclosed cabins where the engine exhaust may back up.
- If you are taking your own boat out and it has been a while, consider getting a vessel safety check. It is important that your boat is in good working condition. And bring a buddy to help you paddle if you break down.
- Something else that is important to remember is that before you plan to go out for a boat ride, be sure you check the weather forecast to ensure you won’t run into any storms or choppy waters. Unintentionally catching air on storm waves and pitching your guests into the water is probably not their idea of a relaxing lake day. Take it easy and stay safe!
By following these safety tips and exercising good judgment, you stand a good chance of returning to the dock with just a sunburn.
However, sometimes you can’t help someone else’s negligence. In the event you or someone you know was involved in a boating accident with another vessel in Spartanburg or Greenville, SC, perhaps you might consider contacting Greenville, SC personal injury lawyer Paul Hammack. The fact is, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation and our firm can help you determine exactly what these are.
Paul Hammack has represented boat rental facilities, marinas and boat owners since 2000 in numerous personal injury and wrongful death cases. Paul has nearly two years of experience as a trial attorney. He worked for insurance companies for 15 of those years so he has the knowledge and experience to get the most out of your workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Paul is not afraid of filing suit or taking a case to trial. If you are hurt on the job or by someone else’s negligence we want to help. Better call Paul! Hammacklawfirm.com.
You can always contact Hammack Law Firm at:
223 West Stone Avenue
Greenville, SC 29609