Summer is here, and being on the water cruising in a boat is a favorite activity for thousands of people. Recreational boating is a great way to spend a day or even the entire weekend when it is done safely.
Unfortunately, boating accidents can cause severe injuries. Protecting your passengers, yourself, and others is essential, as is learning how to operate your boat and navigate the waterways safely.
Everyone loves a great day on the water. We’re here to tell you how to avoid some common injuries from boating accidents, the typical reasons why they happen, and the top tips for an enjoyable and safe day on the water.
Common Injuries From Boating Accidents
Boating accidents generally cause serious injuries which result in irreversible brain damage or permanent disabilities affecting the person for the rest of their lives.
Common injuries that are the result of boating accidents include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones or accidental amputations
- Serious soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding
If you or someone you love was injured in a boating accident, contact a top personal injury attorney in Chicago to help you with your claim.
Common Reasons for Boating Accidents
Some boating accidents are unavoidable, but most of the time, accidents result from operator error and are preventable. Most boating injuries occur in one of the following ways:
- A passenger on the boat falls overboard
- The vessel collides with another object, such as another boat or a rock
- The boat capsizes
Below are the most common reasons for boating accidents.
- The operator disregards crucial safety factors. There are many factors to be mindful of when you’re driving a boat, including the weather, passengers, water, and more. Neglecting these or failing to ensure that someone else is actively supporting the driver can have dangerous consequences.
- No one is acting as a lookout. Anytime you’re on the boat, it is essential to have a designated person to help watch and identify hazards or threats in addition to the boat operator.
- The boat captain is inexperienced. New boat operators who need more understanding of the basics of boating, how to handle emergencies, admiralty law, and essential navigation rules can result in preventable boating accidents.
- The boat captain is driving too fast. Maintaining a safe speed is essential for your own safety and the safety of your passengers.
- Driving under the influence. Operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous because your reaction time is slower, and your decision-making abilities impaired.
- Equipment failure. A defect or failure in the boat’s machinery or structure may cause an accident or cause a vessel to capsize.
- Poor weather conditions. Storms can come up quickly and change an enjoyable day into a dangerous experience very quickly.
Top Tips for Boating Safety
There’s a certain amount of risk every time you’re out on the boat. However, there are many things that you can do to make your day on the water safer for you and your loved ones. Here are the top tips for a safe and enjoyable trip whenever you’re on the boat.
#1. Life jackets save lives, so make sure you and your passengers always wear one.
#2. Ensure you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating your boat. It puts everyone on your boat and other boaters on the water at risk. It is also against the law.
#3. Take a boating safety course and review the material yearly.
#4. Look at the weather forecast and stay aware throughout your trip for any changes.
#5. Make sure you know the boating laws in your state and region and adhere to them.
#6. Always have essential boat safety equipment on board, including flares, a fire extinguisher, and proper boat lighting.
#7. Always practice propeller safety and ensure that everyone on the boat is accounted for before you start the engine. Never allow anyone to enter or exit the boat if the engine is on or idling.
#8. Be courteous to other boaters on the water.
#9. Anchor your boat correctly and use the proper anchor.
#10. Be cautious and always choose safety first.
#11. Give your boat a once over before leaving the dock. This includes checking the oil and fluid levels, checking that you have ample fuel, testing your battery, and conducting a sniff test to detect harmful or dangerous fumes.
#12. Go over dos and don’ts with your passengers before leaving the dock. This includes familiarizing them with safety features, such as where personal flotation devices are stored and how to put on their life jackets.
#13. Always watch your passengers. Just because you have told everyone the rules on board doesn’t mean they’ll follow them 100% of the time. Ensure your passengers stay seated and keep their arms and legs on the inside of the boat while moving.
#14. Keep all your paperwork on board, including registration, boating licenses, and certifications.
#15. Learn how to dock your boat correctly and safely. Ensure you have ready docking lines, bumpers, and bell lines.
#16. Tell someone on land your float plan, where you’re going, and let them know if your plan changes.
#17. Stock the boat with necessary supplies, including a compass, bilge pump, emergency food, water, a first aid kit, a boating tool kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, paddles or oars, ropes, a nautical chart, maps, and flares.
#18. Always pay attention and keep your eyes on your surroundings. When captaining the boat, it’s not the time to play on your phone or zone out.
#19. Be clear on the emergency protocol.
#20. Regularly maintain your boat and get a yearly free review with the US Coast Guard vessel safety check.
For Personal Legal Counsel, You Can Trust, Hire Pullano & Siporin in Chicago, Illinois
Enhancing boat safety for all boaters requires effort and accountability from everyone on the water. It’s essential to prioritize respect, safety, and awareness to ensure the safety of everyone on your boat and the other boaters around you.
At Pullano & Siporin, our experienced team of attorneys successfully represents clients in cases of vehicle accidents, construction accidents, medical negligence, product liability, and other personal injury claims for over 50 combined years. When you choose our firm to represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you and your family and prioritize helping you put your life back together after your personal injury claim.
Contact us today, and we will tenaciously pursue justice and the compensation you deserve.