Springtime is here, which means that boating season is back in full swing. Temperatures are warming up around the country, and eager sailors are ready to hit the waters and take advantage. Unfortunately, while boating season brings a host of exciting opportunities to experience the beauty of the great outdoors, the thrill of sailing, and the pleasure of spending quality time with loved ones, it also brings with it a greater number of dangers that can lead to serious accidents.
During boating season, you’ll naturally see a huge increase in traffic on waterways. What makes this an issue is that not everyone operating a boat or water craft is experienced or careful to abide by proper maritime safety laws. Because there are a greater number of people occupying waterways, there is a larger chance of finding reckless boaters who will disregard safety regulations. There will be a greater number of boaters who will speed, drink while boating, fail to ensure their vessels are properly maintained, and engage in a slew of other unsafe actions.
Though our boating accident lawyers here at LMAW have offered several tips on how to stay safe while out on a boat or personal water craft, there are some boaters who don’t understand the gravity of engaging in reckless actions in open waters, and place themselves – and everyone within their radius – in harm’s way. It’s important to remember that even the most prudent and experienced of boaters can fall victim to an accident, whether due to their own or someone else’s careless actions or because of unforeseen circumstances.
Unfortunately, being based out of Miami, our attorneys have already seen a number of tragic boat-related accidents this year. Although some have, indeed, resulted from medical emergencies or freak mechanical failure, many have been the result of reckless behavior in open waters, and could have been prevented.
If you’re planning on heading out on a boat this spring, exercise caution and be sure to abide by the maritime laws in your area. Regardless of your location, there are some things all boaters can do to reduce the risk of accidents. Below are a few ways you can improve your safety while out in open waters:
- Maintain a safe speed at all times
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from other water crafts
- Do not try to cut off other boaters or race other vessels
- Make sure your vessel and all equipment is in safe working condition
- Refrain from consuming alcohol before going out on a boat or watercraft, and while you are out at sea
- Wear a life jacket and ensure everyone in your party does as well
- Ensure your vessel is equipped with lights so you can safely navigate waters at night
- Familiarize yourself with boating safety signs and signals
- Learn proper mayday calls and first aid tactics
Not all boating accidents can be avoided, but these are a few ways in which you can reduce your chances of getting hurt during boating season, as well as reduce the chance that someone else will suffer injuries.