7 Boating Safety Tips

Beating the heat in the summer is so simple if you just add water. From speed boats to pontoons to jet skis and beyond, the cool spray of water colliding with a gust of wind is far more refreshing than spending the day in the air conditioning. Regardless if you like to spend your time on the water catching rays or waves, there is no shortage of activities that anyone can enjoy. For those who want to relax, sunbathing on the deck is the way to go. If you're looking for a little more excitement, skiing and tubing are much more thrilling. It is, however, critical to remember that boating accounts for thousands of injuries and deaths each year. To ensure you, your friends and your family have fun and stay safe, we suggest following these seven boating safety tips.

Take a Boating Safety Course

While boater education requirements differ state to state, it is essential to understand water safety, boating safety, and rules of operation. There are even online boater education programs, which make it much more convenient to complete the training before you get behind the wheel - or helm.

Check the Weather

Sure, you want the weather to be sunny when you go out for a day of boating, but did you know that heavy winds can cause dangerous conditions on the water? The speed of the water vehicle also greatly increases hazards on rough waters. If you see high speed winds, storms, lightning, or other unsafe weather on the radar, it would be in your best interest to choose another day to go to the lake.

Stock an Emergency Kit

In life, there is one thing that is certain: nothing is certain. To safeguard your passengers in case of an emergency, we propose stocking a kit with antiseptic, waterproof bandages, gauze, medical tape, motion-sickness bags, and pain reliever. While you could pack a suitcase full of protective items, make sure you at least have the essentials.

Pack Enough Floatation Devices

The law in Missouri requires any person aboard a watercraft, age seven or under, to be wearing a life vest at all times; while the law in Illinois states that all people under 13 must wear a life jacket while onboard a boat. Although, it is a general best practice to have one life jacket for each individual on board any water vehicle. It is also recommended to check state laws before embarking on an adventure to make sure you are compliant with all regulations.

Designate a Sober Driver

Drinking and driving is known to be treacherous, and operating a boat under the influence is no different. If the driver of a boat is detained by authorities, they can even be charged with a BUI (Boating Under the Influence). It is highly advised that any motorist remain sober while behind the wheel to prevent injury of others onboard and driving passed.

Be Aware of Propellers

When stationary, boat propellers are extraordinarily sharp; when engaged, they are deadly. All drivers and passengers should be mindful of where every propeller is located in order to avoid serious damage and possible death.

Retain Access to Navigation

After a long, tiring day, the last thing any boater wants to hear is, "I think we're lost." GPS units or navigational charts are extremely helpful in guiding your way back to the correct dock. The injury lawyers at Eason Law Firm recommend using one or the other, or having both on board as an extra security measure.

No matter what body of water you plan on diving into from your boat this summer, having an understanding of what could go wrong is the best way to be prepared. You can never be too safe with the lives of your family and friends. To learn more about boating safety laws and regulations in Missouri, visit mo.gov. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident and need help, call the expert injury attorneys at Eason Law Firm today at (314) 932-1066.

Have fun and be safe out there!

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