According to a report from the United States Coast Guard, more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents occur every year that kill more than 600 people, which does not include those who disappear. The disappearance of two boys, in particular, brought recent national attention to boating safety from both the public and lawmakers. The US Coast Guard recommends more boat operators take a boating education course to keep both themselves and their passengers safe.
Captain with Years of Experience Provides Boating Tips
A journalist from the Baltimore Sun recently interviewed a Captain, who has spent his life boating and fishing, about his thoughts on boating safety. The captain gave the following tips:
- When allowing passengers to board a boat of any size, it is important to review any and all safety items inside the boat.
- Make sure each passenger knows how a VHF radio and, if you have one, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) work.
- Show passengers where the fire extinguisher, the flare gun and air horn are.
- Even if it is a casual trip, talk about what to do in the case of an emergency.
- Always keep your boat in good condition.
- Make a float plan with someone on shore that leaves specific instructions.
- Always remember the boats coming from the right have the right-of-way.
- Make sure each passenger knows if the boat capsizes, they must remain with the boat.
- Ensure that another person present can drive the boat and knows how to hail for help.
- Make sure passengers know where life saving equipment is and teach them how to put it on
- Have passengers wear PFD’s(personal flotation devices)
Boater Education is Becoming a Top Concern
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in other states found that boating safety is becoming a growing public concern. Through online forums, it is reported that surveyed citizens agree “boating education should be required for an individual to operate a boat.” While Massachusetts does require minors who are 16 or 17-years-old to obtain a Boating Safety Certificate, it does not require anyone 18 or older to take any safety courses or obtain any certificate.
South Carolina began public hearings earlier this month to put together recommendations for the senate. With any luck, South Carolina’s DNR can help draw national attention to boating education laws, which may reduce the number of nationwide boating accidents.
What Should I do If I am Injured in a Boating Accident?
If you are injured in a boating accident, first and foremost, you must seek medical attention. According to Massachusetts maritime injury attorney Carolyn Latti, the owner of the boat will be required to contact his or her insurance company to report the incident. The insurance company of the boat owner will dispatch an investigator who will likely try to speak to you, which the attorneys at Latti & Anderson LLP recommend against. It is very important that during this time that you contact a lawyer to represent your interests and explain your rights in the situation.