Boating accidents can be every bit as devastating as the worst car or truck collisions. In addition to injuries or fatalities that can take place on the boats themselves, there is the possible danger of drowning for those that fall in the water. For anyone that takes to the sea, maritime pursuits can be made safer if you avoid the following behaviors and act responsibly.
Regardless of what kind of aquatic vessel you are on, alcohol consumption can lead to problems. If you’re going to take part in a so-called “booze cruise” that stays close to shore and has an open bar, moderation is still recommended. Falling off a boat while intoxicated can prove fatal if you become disoriented or you are not a strong swimmer. If you are captaining the boat, then you should never consume alcohol or any other intoxicants. There is no surer way of inviting catastrophe.
If you are operating a boat, even a moment of distraction can lead to an accident. You must pay close attention to the weather, everything surrounding the vessel, and your passengers. Steering a boat requires both skill and a steady hand. Any minute changes in the water or the wind can be an early sign of danger, so don’t allow yourself to lose focus.
If you are an inexperienced operator, you should have someone along with you who knows what they’re doing. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but if the weather conditions are uncertain, you are better off handing over the tiller to the more accomplished hand. If you are unclear about any admiralty laws, rules of navigation, or you aren’t sure about how to handle any emergency situations, you should not yet be ready to take the helm.
Regardless of your experience level or how clear the weather conditions, you should not be operating any watercraft faster than is recommended. Excessive speed may seem thrilling, but it also means that you will have much less reaction time if something unexpected occurs. Waterways typically have speed limits just as roadways do. Even if you don’t get caught by the authorities, you don’t want to risk rolling the boat over or striking some unseen obstacle.
If An Accident Occurs
If you are involved in a boating collision, you have many of the same responsibilities that you would in the case of a car or truck accident. There will be insurance companies to contact. Possibly you may need to procure legal help for an accident if you are considering bringing suit against the operator of another vessel or if action is being brought against you. Just as would be the case if you were in a car accident, you will need to stay on the scene until the authorities arrive. If there are injuries, try to get help for them as soon as you can.
Boating can be a thrilling experience, but when something goes wrong, you need to act appropriately and follow protocol, just as you would on land. Many accidents involving boats are caused by human error, so take care and don’t become a statistic.