Equal parts thrilling and soothing, taking a boat out on the water is a favorite activity for many — and it won’t be long before the docks and marinas are open. for the season.
Now is an excellent time to think about boating safety and brush up on some old (and maybe a few new) tips that can help keep you and others safer while out on the water.
Rules for safety on the water
The top two rules for boating safety are drive sober and wear a lifejacket. If you’re a passenger, obey the captain and put your lifejacket on. Also, don’t get in a boat if you suspect the captain will be drinking heavily. If you’re driving the boat, don’t drink and insist that all passengers put on their vests.
Here are more tips that can help you avoid accidents:
- Make sure you have enough fuel. Running out of fuel in the middle of of a lake or on a deserted spot on a river can turn life-threatening under the wrong conditions. Don’t take chances.
- Wear an emergency cut-off lanyard if you’re out there alone. Falling overboard could be the least of your problems if your boat starts turning in circles and catching you in its wake.
- Inspect your hull. It’s been a long winter. Before you head out on the water, check your through-hull fittings and make sure they’re in good shape. Don’t forget to put a few extra on board in case your boat springs a leak.
- Check your fire extinguisher. You need the kind that will handle either an electrical or fuel fire, and it needs to be up-to-date. If you’ve had yours for a while, it may be expired.
- Slow down when it’s windy, rainy or dark. Just like on a highway, your visibility declines in poor weather and makes navigating on the water much more difficult. Reducing your speed lowers the chance of an unfortunate accident.
With these precautions in mind, you should be able to enjoy your boating experience to the fullest.
What happens if another boater injures you?
No matter how safety-minded you may be, not everybody on the water is the same. If a drunk, aggressive or just plain incompetent boater injures you, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. An attorney can help you pursue everything you’re due.