Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Many people like to use this holiday to soak up the sun outdoors and to spend time on their nearby lake or river. Unfortunately, some boaters don't play it safe when out on the water.
In 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,463 boating accidents that resulted in 2,903 injuries and 701 fatalities. With staggering numbers such as these, you may wonder how so many incidents occurred. To help you avoid a preventable accident, we've listed the top three ways to prevent one from occurring.
Don't drink and drive
Most of us know that it's illegal to drink and drive a car. But did you know the same rules apply to boats? In fact, the BAC limit for those operating a boat is 0.08, just as if you were driving on the road. Alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents for 2016. You may want to partake in the celebration with your friends or family while on the water, but if you are the driver of the boat, you must be responsible and not become inebriated.
Know the ropes
When analyzing information on boaters involved in an accident, the USCG found that 77% of those involved in a fatal accident did not attain a nationally-approved boating safety certificate. Just as you study state laws before getting your driver's license, you must study and pass an exam to hold a boating license. People may think they can skip this step and never get caught, but as the stats show, this gamble can result in serious consequences.
Wearing a life jacket may seem like a no-brainer, but drownings continue to occur season after season due to individuals not wearing one. 83% of boaters who drowned were reported to not be wearing a life jacket. Just wearing any life jacket isn't the solution, though. Make sure to have one that properly fits your body and is certified by the USCG. That way, the life jacket can do its job if the need arises.
From all of us at Bart Durham Injury Law, we hope you enjoy these final days of summer. If you find yourself injured in an accident due to someone being careless, be sure to give us a call.