Between 1991 and 2013, the annual number of recreational boating deaths in the United States dropped from 924 to 560. This is a significant improvement, but many (if not all) of these fatalities were preventable.
Like any activity, recreational boating comes with inherent risks. To avoid dangerous accident this summer, follow these boating safety tips.
- Never mix alcohol and boating. It’s no secret; drunk driving is dangerous. But what about operating a boat under the influence? Many boaters underestimate the effects of alcohol on their ability to operate a boat. Other factors, such as dehydration and sun exposure, can increase your level of intoxication and inability to operate watercraft.
- Always maintain your boat. Like a car, your boat needs regular maintenance to run efficiently. Without maintenance, you could risk causing an accident. Additionally, if you’re hurt in a boating accident caused by poor boating maintenance, you can sue the boat operator or owner for negligence maintenance.
- Do not speed or drive recklessly. Many boat operators fail to realize they can be cited for many of the same infractions committed by motorists. This not only includes operating the boat while intoxicated, but driving it recklessly. Texas laws do not designate speed limits in the water, but you can be cited for driving a boat too fast.
- Know the lifejacket laws in your area. There are several types of lifejackets, each designed with specific conditions in mind. If, for example, you are canoeing in a small lake, a Type II lifejacket may be most appropriate because they are designed for near-shore buoyancy. Additionally, make sure all children are wearing lifejackets when needed.
- Take a course on boat safety. A boating safety course can help you understand boating risks and prepare you to react in emergency situations. If you’ve already taken a boating safety course, consider re-taking it before you start boating this summer. The U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Center can provide a list of courses available to you.
If you suffered an injury in a boating accident, visit our boat accident page to learn about your legal rights. Our Houston personal injury lawyers can help you get the financial compensation you need!