Unlike driving (which many people associate with work and/or errands), boating is a purely recreational activity. Many boaters in New York and elsewhere find there is no better way to unwind after a stressful week than to take their boats to the nearest body of water and spend hours cruising with friends and family. This feeling of freedom can cause boaters to become careless or lax when it comes to safety, however, and thereby increase the odds of a tragic boating accident occurring on the water.
Avoiding Boating Disasters This Summer
Like car accidents, many boating accidents need not occur and would not occur absent the careless acts of one or more persons. With a modicum of attention and carefulness, and by following these tips, you can help ensure you, your family, and your friends have a fun and injury-free outing on the water:
- Take a boating safety course: If you lack experience in boating, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to gain a solid base of safety knowledge is to take a boating safety course. These courses are offered periodically by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at a minimal cost and teach novice boaters about the laws and rules of the water as well as how they can remain safe on crowded bodies of water.
- Have lifejackets available and use them: When you are suddenly and unexpectedly thrown overboard is not the time to think about putting on a lifejacket. Wearing a properly-fitted and approved lifejacket at all times helps protect a person in the event they are knocked overboard – especially if the person is a young child and/or does not know how to swim.
- Do not drink and boat or boat while distracted: Although a boat handles differently than a car, alcohol is as impairing of a person’s faculties and judgment on water as it is on land. Similarly, texting while operating a boat is as distracting as texting while driving a car. Do not boat under the influence of alcohol, and put down the cell phone if you are taking control of a boat.
- Obey signs and markers and be aware when traveling close to land: While you should maintain vigilance at all times while on the water, be especially alert when traveling close to a shoreline. Not only may there be people in the water who can be seriously hurt if you were to strike them with your boat, many areas near shore or swimming areas also have posted speed limits to prevent dangerous wakes from being created that can pose a hazard to other boaters and swimmers. Violating these posted rules can endanger others and lead to the imposition of sanctions against you.
Reach Out to a Long Island Boating Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one are injured in a boating accident and believe this is due to another person’s careless acts or disregard of basic safety rules, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to schedule an initial case review as soon as possible. We can be reached at (866) 580-1960, or you can contact us through our firm’s website for a free, no-obligation consultation 24/7.