Like learning the rules of the road before you drive a car, it’s just as important to learn about boating safety before you hit the water. While this is especially important for beginners, it’s always a smart idea to review boating safety with everyone aboard your vessel, no matter how much boating experience you or your passengers have. Before taking the helm, our Tennessee boating accident attorneys suggest you review these safety tips.
Take a Boat Safety Course
The best place for beginners to learn all about boating safety is through a certified boat safety course. In , boat operators born after 1/1/1989 operating motorized vessels over 8.5 horsepower are required by law to carry a Boater Education Card. However, everyone benefits from receiving formal boat safety education.
Life Jackets Save Lives
Wearing a life jacket remains one of the most important safety steps boaters should take before setting sail. According to United States Coast Guard statistics, 428 of the 626 boating fatalities in 2015 were caused by drowning, and 85% of those drowning victims weren’t wearing life jackets. Make sure everyone wears a lifejacket that fits appropriately from the time they climb on board, until they disembark.
Keep an Eye on the Sky
Being weather wise means always checking local weather conditions before you set out on any boating adventure, even short jaunts. Clear blue skies can quickly turn to dark, angry clouds. Check the forecast on local radio or television stations and reliable online sources. No matter the weather outlook, anytime you notice a drop in temperature, darkening clouds or a volatile change in wind, get off the water.
Leave a Float Plan
Airplane pilots file a flight plan and boaters should follow suit with a float plan that lets someone know about your boating plans. Whether you leave your itinerary with someone at the marina or a friend or family member, always make sure someone knows how long your voyage will last and a general idea of your destination. Float plans should include:
- Itinerary, including estimated return time
- Name and phone number of boat captain
- Name and phone number of all passengers
- Boat type and registration information
- Type of onboard communication and signaling equipment
Use Common Sense
Most boating safety is just good common sense. Maintain safe operating speeds at all times, especially in crowded areas and stay alert to other water traffic. Avoid alcohol while you’re on the water, especially if you’re captaining the boat. Obey buoys and other navigational aids. Also, learn how by taking lessons at your local YMCA or a similar organization.
Hire Top Tennessee Boating Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been hurt while boating by a careless boater or reckless watercraft operator, the Tennessee boating accident attorneys at the law offices of Pitman & Petro can help you get the compensation you deserve. Visit our office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; contact us via our Live Chat online, or give us a call 24/7 at 423-877-9800.