Water Safety Tips for Boaters
Summertime means hot weather, kids out of school, and for many, an opportunity to enjoy the lake in a boat or personal watercraft.
Those of us who have grown up on the lake have likely seen an explosion in the number of personal watercrafts, (jet skis, Sea-Doo’s, WaveRunners, etc.) on the lakes these days. However, the influx of personal watercrafts creates a safety challenge for even the most experienced boaters.
Used responsibly, personal watercrafts can make for fun and exciting activities but used irresponsibly, a personal watercraft can be deadly. One reason is that many modern personal watercrafts can reach speeds far higher than boats. Like motorcyclists, drivers or riders of watercrafts have very little protection in the event of a collision. Another reason is that all too often, people with little to no experience are given the reins to these very dangerous watercrafts without having the skill and understanding to use them responsibly and protect themselves, other watercrafts, and boat users on the lake.
In 2020, Coast Guard statistics indicate that nearly 70 people died in personal watercraft incidents with almost 900 injured. Alcohol use, driver inexperience, excessive speed, and inattention, were determined to be the root cause of most of these accidents. With this in mind, owners of personal watercrafts must exercise great care to ensure that anyone who operates these watercrafts is sufficiently experienced and capable of doing so safely.
Watercraft operators must be alert for other personal watercrafts, boaters, and swimmers on the lake and should closely follow the rules of boating safety. Anyone operating boats must be ever-vigilant to ensure they are always aware of other boats on the water, and particularly, personal watercrafts. Like automobile crashes, injuries or deaths caused by the negligent operation of boats and personal watercraft can give rise to liability and compensation for victims.
Other lake safety rules you should keep in mind include:
- Know the weather conditions
- Avoid restricted areas
- Obey all posted signs, such as “No Wake”
- Do not operate any watercraft or boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Don’t overload your vessel’s capacity
- Wear protective clothing
- Keep a safe distance from other water vessels
- Stay in sight of the shore but away from residential and high-traffic areas to give other people space to enjoy the water
If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal watercraft or boating incident, contact The Haynes Firm for a free consultation online or by calling (423) 451-4999!