Boating is one of America’s favorite pastimes, especially during the summer. The fourth of July is fast approaching and ranks as one of the most popular boating holidays as people yearn to spend time with friends and family on the lake. Unfortunately, each year there are numerous injuries and deaths caused by reckless and unsafe boating.
The U.S Coast Guard recently released the 2014 recreational boating statistic report which indicated there were 610 boating fatalities and 2,678 reported injuries during that year. Of the deaths where the cause was known, 78% of the victims drowned; out of drowned victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket.
Just because Tennessee is a landlocked state doesn’t mean boating safety is irrelevant. There are many popular boating lakes and rivers throughout the state. In fact, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the National Safe Boating Council, Tennessee ranked number 6 out of 50 states for most boating deaths and number 7 in boating injuries.
With this in mind, here are 7 safety tips to remember during boating season:
- ALWAYS wear a life jacket. Even if you are a pro at swimming, always wear a vest.
- No booze. Mixing alcohol and water activities can lead to deadly situations. When you are boating, you should be fully aware of everything around you and be able to think clearly. You wouldn’t drink and drive, right? Of course not. So don’t drink and boat!
- Watch the weather. Check the weather before deciding to take the boat out that particular day. If dark clouds, wind and thunder begin to set in, it is time to take the boat to shore!
- Follow a pre-departure safety list. Make certain you have everything you need in case your boat breaks down or capsizes. Bring plenty of water, life vests, food, flashlights, tools to fix your boat and any other items you might need in a boating emergency.
- Take a boating course. It’s a good idea for everyone to become familiar with boating safety.
- Become an excellent swimmer. Even with your life vest on, you should feel confident that if there was an emergency you would be able to swim to shore safely.
- Use common sense. If you are unsure whether or not you should do something that seems dangerous or uncertain on boat, then don’t do it. When in doubt, choose the safer option.
Gilreath & Associates encourages all Tennessee residents to have a fun and safe summer. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a reckless boat operator, you should call an experienced boating accident attorney to discuss your case and right to injury compensation.
For now, get answers to the most frequently asked questions about boating and watercraft accidents. You can also find a plethora of information about injury litigation and safety via our firm’s blog and knowledge center.