Boat with a sunrise behind it

Boating Safety: How to Prevent Accidents on the Water This Summer

Research shows boating remains a popular recreational activity in Texas. If you’re a Texan, taking a boat out on the water may be among your favorite ways to spend a hot summer day. 

A day of boating is most enjoyable when everyone is safe. To guard against harm this season, keep the following boating safety tips in mind: 

Don’t Drink and Operate a Boat 

You assign a designated driver when going out drinking with friends because operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is unsafe. A designated driver ensures someone remains sober to get everyone home. 

The same principle should apply on the water. Never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. 

Take a Boating Safety Course 

Enrolling in a boating safety course gives you the chance to learn about boating safety in real-world situations. Research courses in your area to find one that has a positive reputation 

Always Stock Life Jackets 

Wearing a life jacket whenever you’re on a boat is a wise idea. Check regulations in your area to find out when you must wear a life jacket. 

Abide by all regulations and, at the very least, make sure all life jackets are in good condition and easily accessible. Confirm you have sufficient life jackets for all passengers. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 81 percent of U.S. boating fatalities in 2021 involved drowning. Of the victims, 83 percent were not wearing life jackets. 

Check Weather Conditions 

Always check weather reports before taking your boat out. Even if you checked the day before, check again in the morning to confirm that nothing has changed. 

Err on the side of caution and never take a boat out when there’s a chance you’ll encounter inclement weather. Staying safe is more important than taking major risks simply to enjoy a few hours on the water. 

Get a Free Safety Check 

Inspecting your boat to ensure there are no safety issues is a task you must complete at the start of a new boating season. However, if you’re not a professional, you might wonder if you’re checking your boat as thoroughly as you need to. 

Find out where your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is. They offer free vessel safety checks you should take advantage of.

Have Two “Captains” 

Whenever possible, ensure there are always at least two people on board your boat who know how to operate it safely. They should understand and be familiar with proper boat operations, and all safety procedures the person primarily responsible for operating the boat is familiar with. 

Consider going over this information with all your passengers before venturing out. The more people who know how to keep everyone safe, the better. 

Protect Yourself from the Heat 

Boating safety isn’t just about guarding against drownings, collisions, and other such incidents. You should also consider how being out in the sun could potentially affect your health and safety if you fail to take protective measures. 

Apply adequate sunscreen and ensure you have enough water on board to keep everyone properly hydrated. Monitor for the signs of heat illness, and reconsider whether it’s wise to take your boat out on very hot days.

Pay Attention 

The last boating safety tip may be obvious, but it’s essential. Exercise good judgment and be aware of your surroundings. Operating a boat requires the same degree of vigilance as operating a car. Maintain a safe speed, obey the rules of the water, and avoid putting yourself in situations that could lead to harm. 

Contact a Texas Boating Accident Lawyer 

Following this advice may help you stay safe while boating in Texas. However, perhaps you’ve been hurt in a boating accident because someone else was negligent. You may be eligible for financial compensation if so. Speak with a Texas boating accident lawyer for more information. A member of our team at Rochelle McCullough, LLP, can help you pursue the compensation you may deserve. Get started today by contacting us online to set up a meeting.