Boating is a blast. Especially during mild summer days, few water-based activities are as fun, relaxing, and thrilling as boating. Unfortunately, boating can also lead to serious injuries and deaths if the boat operators (and riders) are not behaving responsibly. To keep yourself, and everyone else in the water around you safe, it’s critical that you do your part in preventing boat accidents. To help you prepare yourself, here are the eight most common causes of boat accidents that you should be aware of:
1. A Lack of Proper Operator Attention
When a boat’s operator is not giving their full attention to handling the boat, disaster can occur. It only takes a brief moment of inattention for serious (or even deadly) accidents to happen, after all. Cutting down on distractions as much as possible is key to being a responsible, safe boat operator.
2. An Inexperienced Operator
Inexperience can be incredibly dangerous when heavy machinery and vehicles enter into the equation. Unless you have lots of experience, and a boating license, you should never attempt to operate a boat by yourself. As you’re learning to operate the boat, you should have an experienced operator nearby overseeing you. This way, you can learn safely and effectively.
3. Operating While Under the Influence
Trying to operate a boat while under the influence is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you be distracted easily, but your reaction time will be significantly impaired as well. Not to mention that operating a boat while under the influence is highly illegal. You can easily injure yourself, people on your boat, and others you’re sharing the water with when you operate a boat under the influence. If you’ve been injured in a boat accident through no fault of your own, the boat injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you find restitution.
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4. Sudden Machinery Failure
Sudden machinery failure can cause you to lose control of your boat’s path, and its speed. When this happens, you must have been trained on how to react to the machinery failure, as this can help you protect yourself, and everyone else around you. To help prevent these tragic accidents, you should always be vigilant about keeping your boat repaired and maintained. Additionally, you should avoid driving your boat if you suspect there are major mechanical issues plaguing it. If you’re operating a more digitized boat, you need to understand how to operate it manually in case something goes wrong.
Unlike roads, many waterways and bodies of water are not marked in a hyper-clear fashion. While there are markers to make no-wake zones and other important areas distinctive, it’s often otherwise up to the boat operator to navigate the water properly and to stay in their designated areas (which you learn as you learn how to operate a boat properly). When a boat suddenly goes off-course or fails to follow the rules, every other boat will have to react in an unnatural, unsafe manner (putting everyone in danger as a result).
6. Water Hazards and Obstructions
Whether it’s branches, hard-to-see obstacles, obstructions in the water, or something else, in-the-water hazards are one of the top causes of boat accidents. Once again, the importance of being hyper-attentive while operating a boat comes into play. Even a moment of distraction can cause you to miss the hazards and obstacles that you need to avoid, after all.
7. Inclement Weather Issues
Similar to driving, boating can quickly become dangerous if you’re doing it in the wrong weather. Heavy rains, extremely high winds, snow, hail, and thunderstorms can all present major hazards for boaters. If any of these weather conditions exist, you need to stay in and wait for them to pass. If you’re on the water when these weather conditions begin, you should seek shelter as soon as humanly possible to prevent accidents and injuries.
8. Excessive Speeding
Just like with motor vehicles, speeding is one of the most dangerous things you can do while operating a boat. Because the speed limits in waterways are typically much more uniform, it should be easy to keep your boat from exceeding the speed limit (unless you’re acting irresponsibly). By keeping your boat within the speed limit, you avoid causing wakes, waves, and other obstacles that can put other people in the water in danger. Additionally, speeding can cause you to accidentally flip your boat, which can lead to incredibly serious injuries and deaths in many cases.
Safe Boating Is Your Responsibility
Whether you’re operating the boat or riding on it, safe boating is your responsibility. If you see someone else recklessly operating a boat, it’s important to speak up. In this case, speaking up could end up saving lives (including your own).
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