Here are 5 Boat Safety Reminders to Keep In Mind This Summer
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics report, in 2017 the Coast Guard counted 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
In order to raise awareness about boat safety this boating season, here are a few reminders every boater should keep in mind this boating season to prevent a boating accident:
1. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
Drowning was the known cause of death for 76% of fatal boating accidents in 2017 and 84.5% of the drowning victims were reportedly not wearing a life jacket.
Take the necessary precautions and make sure you have appropriately-sized life jackets for all guests while boating. Remember, a life jacket that does not fit well will be like having no life jacket on at all. Also, make sure that all life jackets are Coast Guard-approved, in serviceable condition and the appropriate size for the intended user.
2. Use an engine kill switch.
The kill switch, or ‘engine safety cut-out switch’ to give it its proper name, is a device used to stop the engine in the event of the operator being thrown out of their seat. Accidents involving victims being struck by a propeller could be prevented if the boat operator was wearing an engine cutoff device or if the boat owner considered purchasing propeller safety devices for their boat.
3. Check the weather before you hit the water.
Even though the skies may appear beautiful, always check weather forecasts before heading out to ensure good boating conditions. For example, you’ll want to avoid certain types of weather whenever possible, such as heavy fog or strong winds.
4. Follow marine traffic laws and regulations.
Know what’s going on around you at all times, and always travel at safe speeds for the environment. Every boater is responsible for knowing and adhering to Coast Guard boating laws and regulations, and laws specific to the state in which the vessel is registered or operated. This includes carrying at least the minimum safety equipment, registering and numbering your boat properly, and the safe operation of your vessel. Also, be sure to learn distress signals and other boating signals.
5. Never boat under the influence
Do not boat under the influence! Boating under the influence, or BUI, is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. In 2017, alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard’s 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics report.