Independence Day is only a few hours away, and while this is one of our nation’s most memorable holidays, it can also be one of the most dangerous for those enjoying activities in the water. Whether you have plans to go out on a boat, jet ski, parasail, or swim this 4th of July, it’s important to remember that waterways are likely to be very crowded, and anyone enjoying maritime activities is at a much greater risk of suffering an accident. That being said, our lawyers have four tips that can help you and your loved ones avoid serious boating accident injuries this holiday weekend.
- Refrain from alcohol consumption. According to statistics, more boating accidents take place on Independence Day than any other holiday. Though each state has its own laws pertaining to maritime safety, one of the top factors contributing to accidents at sea is intoxication. Alcohol can severely impede a boater’s ability to safely operate their vessel or watercraft, and much like on land, can contribute to severe – if not fatal – accidents. Avoiding alcohol while operating any kind of vessel will drastically reduce your chances of getting hurt or contributing to someone else’s injuries, plus, it will also ensure you avoid charges associated with Boating Under the Influence.
- Maintain prudent speeds. Speeding is another main cause of boating accidents during the July 4th As waterways are going to be much more crowded, it’s a lot harder to slow down and avoid a crash if a large number of people are sharing the water space. Research the laws in your state regarding boating and watercraft speeds and operate your vessel at a prudent velocity below the maximum limit to ensure you have ample time to evade a collision with another boater or swimmer, and be sure to keep a safe distance between others in the water.
- Leave the fireworks on land. We know it can be tempting to set off fireworks from your boat on Independence Day, but this can lead to severe injuries and even an onboard fire. If you are planning on setting off fireworks, wait until you are back on land so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself or others on your vessel. It’s also wise to stay clear of areas were fireworks will be set off, as debris from the explosives may fall on your vessel and cause injuries or a fire on board. In addition, be sure to bring a fire extinguisher with you on your vessel just in case an accidental fire does occur.
- Wear a lifejacket. As our boating accident attorneys have said time and time again, anyone enjoying any kind of water activity should always wear a lifejacket. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you are injured to the point that you cannot swim or stay afloat, a lifejacket is the only protection you have until emergency crews are able to reach you. Whether you are going out into the ocean, lake, or river, make sure you are wearing a lifejacket. If you are planning to spend time in the pool with your kids, ensure they wear a floatation device and make sure they are being monitored by an adult at all times to prevent a drowning accident.
The 4th of July is an important holiday celebrating our nation’s independence, but it’s important to celebrate safely. By following these 4 easy tips, you can avoid a boating accident this holiday weekend.