For many of us, enjoying a relaxing day out on a motorboat, tinny, or jet ski is the ideal perfect day. When we think of going out on the open waters, whether for fishing, scuba diving excursions, or sightseeing, we don’t usually equate the activity with tragedy. Though the possibility of getting into an accident is very real, the notion that we’ll be the ones suffering a boating accident is not a very prominent one.
While recreational boating should be an enjoyable pastime first and foremost, it’s important to remember that accidents can – and often do – happen. Most boating accidents happen in the blink of an eye and can involve both experienced and novice sailors alike. Even the most prepared of boaters can become caught in a sudden storm or rogue wave, or can be the victim of another individual’s negligent actions, such as boating while under the influence of alcohol or speeding.
Because there is no guarantee that a collision or capsizing tragedy will not occur, each boating accident lawyer at our firm can attest to the fact that it is always better to live by the motto, “better safe than sorry.”
Aside from abiding by maritime safety laws while operating a vessel or personal water craft, such as maintaining proper speed, prudent distance between other vessels, and refraining from alcohol consumption, perhaps the best piece of advice we can give anyone who enjoys water activities is to always wear a life jacket.
Most U.S. states require the use of a life jacket while boating or jet skiing, but the decisive factor in an individual’s choice to wear a life jacket shouldn’t come down to whether a state mandates the use of a personal floatation device or not. It’s a matter of safety.
The “life” in life jackets sums it all up – life jackets save lives. In the event a boating accident occurs – for whatever reason that may be – a life jacket is often the only thing standing between survival and drowning. Following a collision, capsizing accident, or even a weather-related incident, boaters can get hurt. Injuries may be so severe that they render victims incapable of swimming to shore or a safe location or may even prevent victims from staying afloat altogether. Some injuries can also cause victims to lose consciousness. And aside from actual accident-related injuries, medical emergencies can also occur, which can also impale victims.
Emergency crews aren’t always available to assist victims right away either. In certain fortunate situations, other boaters are around to help those in need ,but this is also not a guarantee. All it takes is just a few short seconds after an accident or emergency to occur for victims to drown.
A life jacket can drastically reduce the chances of a fatality at sea. Even the best of swimmers can become fatigued, experience muscle cramping, or dehydration, preventing them from being able to keep their heads above the water and eventually causing them to drown. In fact, statistics show that roughly 70% of boating accident fatalities result from drowning. Whether the victim is conscious or not, the life jacket will keep them afloat – sometimes even turning an impaled victim face up – and exponentially extend their chances of survival, proving that extra bit of time for rescue services to reach them.
There should be no reason why anyone out in open waters should not be wearing a life jacket – especially children. Life jacket design has come a long way, so the “it’s too bulky” excuse does not apply anymore. In fact, there are several types of life jackets to choose from, each catering to a particular type of activity and how much time the individual expects to be out in open waters.
The benefits of a life jacket are endless. It can take as little as 60 seconds for a boating accident victim to drown, but less than half that time to put on a life jacket. We strongly urge anyone engaging in water activities or sports to always wear a personal floatation device because tragedy can strike at any moment, and more often than not, a life jacket is the only defense against drowning available.