Summer is a popular time for boating in New York. Whether you’re fishing in Montauk with your buddies, enjoying a lazy day at Cold Spring Harbor, or water skiing with the kids, safety can take a backseat on these fun-filled outings. If you’re one of the 75 million Americans who enjoy recreational boating during the year, there are a few safety measures that can help you avoid accident and injury.
When a passenger falls overboard, your craft strikes another object, or the boat capsizes, a pleasant day on the water can end in tragedy.
Research shows that educating yourself on boating safety is key. Data from the U.S. Coast Guard reveals that more than 70 percent of boating accident fatalities happened on crafts where the operator had no training on boating safety. By contrast, only 15 percent of recorded deaths occurred on boats in which the operator had taken a nationally accredited boating safety instruction course.
Follow these tips this summer to enjoy a safer boating experience.
Earn Your Boating Safety Certificate
In New York State, you must be at least 14 years of age or older and complete a state-approved boating safety certificate in order to operate a motorized recreational watercraft. This means that anyone who was born on or after May 1996 must earn their boating safety certificate in order to operate a motorboat in New York’s waterways.
Make a Pre-Departure Checklist
Before heading out, ensure your watercraft and instruments are in good working order and well-maintained. Stock your vessel with everything to handle a potential emergency situation. This includes one life jacket per passenger; a first-aid kit; a toolbox and spare parts; flashlight with extra batteries, flares or other distress signals and whistles, air horns or other sound-making devices.
Check the Weather Before Heading Out
The sunniest of mornings can turn dark and dangerous in a matter of hours. Before heading out, check the weather forecast for your intended destination. Be on the lookout for choppy waters, a shift in winds and be prepared to head inland at the first sight of lightening or claps of thunder.
Never Drink and Boat
Operating a personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and can land you in jail. Even a couple of drinks can impair reaction times, judgement, balance and vision, putting you and all passengers at serious risk. Some 15 percent of all fatal boating accidents in the U.S. are attributed to alcohol use.
Consider a Free Boat Safety Check
The U.S. Coast Guard offers comprehensive vessel safety checks to ensure your craft has working equipment required under state and federal law. This examination is offered free of charge and may help prevent an accident on the water.
Make a Float Plan
Always let others know about your itinerary and plans for your day on the water. This could be family and friends or an employee at your marina. The float plan should include the names and contact information of all passengers, the type of boat and registration number, where you’re going and anticipated return time and the emergency signal equipment or locator beacon onboard.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a boating accident, reach out to Edelman, Krasin and Jaye for more information about your legal rights. Our New York personal injury attorneys leverage the skill and experience to fight for your rights. Call 1-800-469-7429 to arrange a free case review today.
Additional Resources on Boating Safety:
- National Safety Council, Small Efforts Make Big Difference in Recreational Boating Safety https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/boating
- Payne West Insurance, Safety Tips for Boating this Summer https://www.paynewest.com/6-safety-tips-to-remember-while-boating-this-summer/
- Discover Boating, Safe Boating Tips https://www.discoverboating.com/ownership/safety/tips