Taking the boat out on a beautiful day is a fun way to connect with family and friends, but it can also be dangerous. The U.S. Coast Guard states that in 2011 there were 4,588 boating accidents that involved 758 deaths. To keep you and your loved ones safe on the waterways, here are five U.S. Coast Guard safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Don’t drink and drive your boat.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities. It is illegal in every state to drive a boat while under the influence of alcohol. As with driving, it is important to have a designated driver that will drive the boat and not drink.
2. Wear a life vest.
The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80 percent of boating fatality victims. You never know when a boating accident may happen, how long you will be in the water, or how rough or cold the waters will be. Don’t just have your life vests on board, but ensure that everyone on board is wearing a life vest.
3. Take a boating safety course.
The majority of boating accidents occur because of operator failure. These courses will teach you the rules about how to safely operate and maintain your boat. Through this knowledge, you could protect your life and your loved ones lives.
4. Get a free vessel safety check.
This safety check is offered by the U.S. Coast Guard and can be performed in your driveway, in a slip or launch ramp by a certified vessel examiner. After you get your boat checked, you are given a VSC decal that tells law-enforcement agencies that your boat was found to be in full compliance with all boating laws.
5. Know the dangers of carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that is emitted by your boat engine and onboard motor generators. This gas can cause you to become sick in seconds and even lead to death. One way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to maintain fresh air circulation throughout the boat at all times, and to run exhaust blowers whenever the generator is operating.
Boating accidents are common and can cause serious injuries or fatalities. If you or a loved one were the victim of a boating accident, you should contact the Law Office of W.T. Johnson. We will help you get the justice you are entitled to.