Boating is a popular leisure activity that can bring families and friends closer, and can offer a sense of relaxation. It is especially popular during the warm summer months. However, not all drivers are equipped to safely operate boats, and resulting accidents and injuries can occur.
According to the Boating Safety Resource Center, every 2.5 hours a person is injured or killed in a boating accident. This alarming statistic reminds us all of the importance of boat safety.
Below are a few things for boat drivers to consider before operating a boat:
Do you feel ready to handle the responsibilities of driving a boat?
Driving a boat is very different than driving any other type of motor vehicle. If you feel inexperienced, or anxious about operating a boat, than don’t drive one until you feel ready. Look into attending a boating safety class or course before you drive in order to build your boating skills and experience levels.
Research the speed limits in the area in which you are boating
Some California waterways have speed limit restrictions. These speed limits vary from location to location, so it is important to always be mindful of these limits before you operate on the waters, and to never go above the posted speeds. It helps to research the limits of the area you will be boating in beforehand.
Carry safety equipment
You’ll want to have safety equipment aboard your vessel in the event of an emergency. The equipment you need does rely on several factors, such as the size and type of your boat, among other considerations. The ABCs of California Boating provides more information on the exact equipment you’ll need.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to have the following items on board: a fire extinguisher (type B), flares, a whistle and safety jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for every member aboard the boat.
Never drink and drive
You should never operate any sort of vehicle while intoxicated, and boating is no exception. My firm obtained a $750,000 settlement on behalf of a teenager who was left with severe cuts after a drunk boating accident on the Colorado River.
It is also important to note that you do not need a license to operate a boat in California. As a result, you’ll always want to be alert and drive defensively to help protect yourself and others.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a boating accident, my firm may be able to help. Contact us for a free consultation.