Many Georgians will be taking advantage of the warmer weather in coming
weeks, including the use of boats on nearby lakes. As exciting as boats
are, they can also be dangerous if the proper safety guidelines aren’t
followed. USCG data reveals that someone is injured or killed in a boating
accident every 2 ½ hours. In an effort to prevent as many of those
deaths as possible, May 21-27 has been declared National Safe Boating
Week. In observation of this boating safety campaign, we have compiled
a few important tips for boaters:
- Life jackets should be worn at all times. Your chances of drowning while
wearing a life jacket are 1 in 66. Those chances increase significantly
if you aren’t wearing a life jacket: 1 in 11.
- Ensure that a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and emergency flares are
stored safety on the boat. It is also helpful to inform all passengers
of the location of these safety devices.
- Test your horn and boat lights prior to launching.
- Test the VHF radio to ensure that in an emergency situation, you will be
able to reach help.
- Fill the gas tank with enough gas to get through the trip, plus extra in
case of an emergency situation.
- Check the weather radar to make sure there are no unexpected storms coming
your way prior to launching.
- Stock plenty of bottled water and sunblock on the boat.
- Do not operate a boat if you’ve been drinking alcohol or if you plan
to do so while on the water. The effects of alcohol can be significantly
exaggerated by the sun and other factors while on the water. Like driving
an automobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against
the law, so is boating under the influence.
- Do not overload your boat with passengers or gear. An unstable boat can
lead to capsizing.
Approximately 63% of boaters consider themselves to be “very experienced”,
but 56.9% of boating accidents are attributed to operator error, poor
judgement, or inexperience. These numbers are frightening, as injuries
as a result of a boating accident can be severe. We have witnessed many
victims of accidents on the water whose lives may never be the same. The
best way to prevent this type of injury from happening to you, or to prevent
your own liability in a boating accident, follow safety tips first and foremost.