For many, the start of spring means that boating season is right around the corner. Depending on where you live in Oklahoma and where you dock your boat, you may have already taken the necessary steps to get your pride and joy ready for warmer waters once again. Others are simply counting the days until the last frost passes and they are given the green light to wipe off the dust and get the engine going. Regardless of where you are at with getting your boat ready for spring and summer, it is a good time of year to go over some of the top boating safety tips. Unfortunately, a disturbing number of boating accidents take place each year across the United States. Whether due to negligence, speed, boating under the influence, or a different factor, these accidents oftentimes result in death. However, many boating accidents can be prevented if proper safety measures are followed
No matter how much experience you have, it is always a good idea to review boating safety rules before boating season is in full swing. In the interest of ‘safety first’, here are our top tips for preventing boating injuries:
- Pay Attention to the Weather. Before heading out, be sure and check local weather conditions. If you notice darkening clouds and changing winds, play is safe and get off the water as soon as possible. Inclement weather conditions are one of the biggest factors in boating accidents and injuries
- Be Responsible. Another leading cause of boating accidents is boating under the influence. Just as with driving a vehicle, drinking and boating can dramatically increase the odds that you will be injured or involved in an accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating under the influence increases the odds of a boating fatality by 34 percent.
- Don’t Speed. While it can be tempting to let loose and see what your boat is truly made of, operating at a safe speed is imperative the safety of those on your vessel and others out on the water. Furthermore, you can be cited for excessive speed while boating in Oklahoma.
- Stay on Top of Maintenance. It is important to do a maintenance check before you take your boat out – every single time. Maintenance problems are yet another leading cause of boating injuries and death, and you can be sued for negligence if someone is injured or killed on your boat as a result of improper maintenance.
- Use Life Jackets. While life jackets oftentimes seem like an inconvenience, they can be instrumental in saving passengers, especially children under the age of 13. Be sure and check Oklahoma’s laws regarding life jacket use before taking people out on your boat.
- Have an Emergency Plan in Place. You never know what is going to happen, which is why the American Boating Association recommends that you have an emergency plan in place before boating. This includes making sure your safety equipment is in good working order and that you know how to use it.
- Take a Boating Safety Course. The best way to ensure you are prepared is to take a boating safety course – or to retake such a course if it has been awhile. The U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center has a list of available courses in your area.
- Don’t Overload Your Boat. By taking too many passengers on your boat, the risk of capsizing or swamping is much higher. Check your boat’s weight capacity before setting out.
As an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer, we have represented people throughout the state who have been injured as a result of negligence by the boating operator. In order to prevent injury or death while boating this season, please take a minute to educate yourself about proper boating safety tips. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a boating accident, please contact our Oklahoma personal injury law firm today.