Fatalities during boating are at their highest level since 1998 according studies by the US Coast Guard (USCG). Taking the precautionary steps below, when out over the water, can keep you prepared for the unpredictable.
- Wear a Life jacket: The USCG estimates that 80 percent of boating fatalities could have been prevented had a life jacket been worn. Accidents can happen quickly, not always leaving time to grab a life vest.
- Have a Float Plan: Whether it’s going out for a few hours or days, leave a copy of a written float plan with your friend, boating club, or anyone who could notify the Coast Guard if you do not arrive back around your scheduled return time. A float plan includes a description of your vessel (anything from a kayak to a sailboat), what safety equipment you have, who is with you, where you are going and when you plan on being there. You can also find pre-made plans available in your boating supply store.
- Avoid Alcohol Aboard: Intoxicated passengers are at a greater risk for hurting themselves or falling overboard. In fact, the USCG found that alcohol is involved in about one of every three boating fatalities. Boating under the influence (BUI) penalties are steep, and range from jail time to losing operator privileges.
- Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Toxic carbon monoxide (CO) can accumulate not only inside your boat, but around it as well. Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning, and install CO alarms within the boat.
- Have a Vessel Safety Check Performed: The USCG recommends all vessels, including those for paddle sports, engage in the free Vessel Safety Check program. Performed by a certified vessel examiner, the safety check provides a decal that shows you comply with all federal and state boating regulations. It not only provides peace of mind, but can prevent future fines by law enforcement, lower insurance premiums, and reduce chance of liability in the event of an accident.
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, contact the Kyle law firm today to receive the compensation you deserve.