Spring is finally in the air, which means that people are getting their boats ready for the warmer months. Getting back out on the water and under the sun is exciting, but safety should be every boater’s first priority. In 2013 alone, there were 4,062 boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. These accidents resulted in 560 deaths and another 2,620 injuries, not to mention $39 million in property damage. Here are three important springtime tips for boaters — before even getting back in the boat.
Make sure your boat is in good repair
The first thing any boater needs to do before getting behind the steering wheel, is to make sure that the boat itself is in good repair. Malfunctioning or damaged parts could lead to an accident. Though alcohol is the leading known cause of fatal boating accidents, a boat that is in disrepair could cause an accident as well.
Take a boating safety course
In addition to making sure that the boat is well-maintained and in good repair, boaters should always take a boating safety course in the spring. Even if a boater feels that he or she knows everything there is to know about boating safety, it’s important to get a refresher after a long winter. The most common types of boats involved in reported accidents are open motorboats (46%), followed by personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (17%).
Know the rules and regulations in the area you’re boating in
When a boater has completed a safety course and his or her boat is in good repair, it’s important to know the rules and regulations that are in effect. Just like there are traffic laws that need to be adhered to on the road to prevent car and motorcycle crashes, there are traffic rules in the water for everyone’s safety.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence — their boat malfunctioned, they did not follow safety requirements, or did not adhere to the regulations in the area, you could have legal recourse in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.