During the dog days of summer, there’s really nothing more relaxing than a day spent out on the water. Often, boat owners practically live on their vessels during the on-season, enjoying long days of leisure with their friends and loved ones. It’s important to remember, however, that even an idyllic day at sea can turn into a medical, financial, or legal nightmare, simply due to mundane accidents.
One of the best ways to prepare for possible boating accidents is by knowing some of the most common causes of these accidents. Awareness can be a vital first step toward protecting your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, during your next boat outing.
5 Common Causes of Boating Accidents
1) Operator inattention.
Operating seacraft is a major responsibility. Your attentiveness can be actual life-or-death for your passengers, for other boaters, and for yourself. So even if you’ve been operating boats forever, and feel totally comfortable behind the wheel, that’s no excuse for drifting into distraction.
The bottom line: When driving a boat, you should be at least as vigilant and attentive as when you’re driving a car.
2) Inadequate lookout.
As you focus your attention on operating the boat, you’ll need someone else on board serving as a lookout. It’s that person’s job to keep an eye out for water skiers, jet skiers, swimmers, and other, smaller seacraft.
When out on the water, always have a designated lookout who can survey your surroundings from a different angle. A good lookout can help the driver see obstacles that might otherwise be missed.
3) Driver inexperience.
In much the same way that first-time drivers tend to be more accident-prone, first-time boaters are also more likely to make simple errors or mistakes. That’s because a boat is a fairly sizable piece of equipment, and maneuvering it skillfully takes time and practice.
Everyone must start somewhere, of course, but if you have a novice behind the wheel, there should always be a more experienced operator there to supervise.
Going full throttle across the open water can be a lot of fun, but it also brings significant risk. Operating your boat at excessive speed decreases your reaction time while increasing your chances of collision.
It’s especially important to slow down in congested waters, or any time you’re within close proximity to other seacraft. Allow yourself the time and space needed to react judiciously, just as you would when driving down a crowded highway.
5) Alcohol use.
Summer days are made for cracking open a beer, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with bringing a cooler full of cold libations onto your boat. However, it’s dangerous to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol for the same reason that it’s dangerous to drink and then drive a car. Note that alcohol consumption is responsible for a high percentage of boating-related deaths each and every year.
Addressing Your Boating Accident Claim
Keep these guidelines in mind to help reduce your risk of accidents on the water. And if you ever do wind up in a boating accident, make sure you know the right steps for processing a personal injury claim. To speak with a Texas attorney well-skilled in handling boating claims, reach out to McLaurin Law today.