With so many people cooped up in their homes lately due to the pandemic, it’s understandable that families are now ready to hit the water with their recreational watercrafts, such as Jet Skis, canoes, and motorboats. Of course, while boating can lead to some great summer memories, it’s also important to remember the safety risks.
According to data gathered by the American Boating Association, there are around 4,000 recreational boating accidents every year in the U.S., causing thousands of preventable injuries and deaths. To help you keep your friends and family safe on the water, our boating accident lawyers at The Ammons Law Firm LLP have compiled a few key safety tips for recreational boating.
Here are 6 tips for safely enjoying boats, Jet Skis, and other PWCs this summer:
- Never drink or use substances while boating or operating a watercraft. As with driving, boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal in all 50 states, as well as at the federal level. Most states use the same .08 blood alcohol level rule used for motor vehicle drivers.
- Make sure all adults and children are wearing life jackets. According to some estimates, using proper life jackets could have saved 80% of all boating accident victims. Make sure that there are enough adult and child-sized life jackets on board for every passenger and that you have an approved throwable flotation device for your vehicle where required.
- Stay prepared for sudden weather changes. As any seasoned boater or water sports enthusiast can tell you, the weather can change quickly, whether you’re out on a lake or sailing the open ocean. Prepare yourself with a destination forecast and radio before you head out.
- Watch children carefully. Drowning is a top cause of death for children under the age of 5, and even older children may also be susceptible. By providing children with careful supervision and life jackets, you can help to reduce their risk of drowning or falling.
- Never speed on a Jet Ski. It can be tempting to speed on your personal watercraft, but speeding is a top cause of water accidents and can result in serious injuries. Keep a good distance between you and other riders and always give yourself time and space to stop.
- Keep your PWC fully maintained. Equipment failure and mechanical defects are some of the leading causes for PWC-related accidents and boating-related injuries. Check all cables, propellers, fuel and oil levels, and other essential parts of your watercraft before you use it again, preferably with the help of an expert.
If you do become seriously injured in an incident involving a personal watercraft (PWC) of any kind, please make sure to contact our experienced team to explore your legal options. Boating injuries can be serious, and if another person’s negligence caused you to suffer, you may be eligible for compensation.
Need help with a boating accident claim? Contact The Ammons Law Firm LLP at (281) 801-5617 to schedule a free consultation with our team. We take cases in Houston and nationwide.