In 1975, a movie forever changed how safe people feel on a boat. The name of this Steven Spielberg movie was Jaws and (as you probably well know) it told the story of an enormous great white shark that attacked humans in the water and even in boats. Spielberg did such an effective job of making this animal scary that some people are scared of going in the water to this day. However, when you are out on a boat, the main danger is not found below the surface; it is the other watercraft on the surface of the water that pose the biggest safety threat.
With the increase of boats and personal watercraft on the water, there has been an increase in boating accidents in recent years. In fact, more people die every year in boating accidents than in train wrecks or airplane crashes. Because there are no clearly defined paths for boats to follow, this makes boats much more unpredictable. If you aren’t careful, a boat can seemingly come out of nowhere and put you and your loved ones in danger. To stay safe around other boats on the water, here are some tips to consider.
Know the Rules
There are rules and laws that pertain to watercraft, and it is up to you to know and follow these rules. Just like on the road, someone always has the right of way. Here are some general rules to follow.
- The vessel on the right always has the right of way when two boats are on intersecting paths.
- If a boat is being overtaken, that boat has the right of way.
- Powered boats must always yield to boats that are being paddled, rowed, or sailed.
Be Careful Around Big or Narrow
You must always be careful to stay clear of larger vessels, and take extra precautions when navigating through a narrow passage. This boats to get closer together, increasing the chances of a collision.
Look At Me
If you are going to get out of the boat to swim, dive, or ski, it is important to make sure other boaters and watercraft can see you. Putting out a diving flag or buoy will indicate that you are swimming below the surface. If you are being pulled behind a boat, wear a brightly colored life jacket to make yourself more visible. If you are swimming, try to stay in designated swimming areas whenever possible.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Alcohol and water don’t mix. It is important that if you are going to be driving a boat that you stay alert and sober-minded. Nearly half of all boating accidents involve alcohol, and it is not worth risking your life or the life of others for a drink.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. With over 20 years of experience in the Tampa area, Bryan Caulfield and his dedicated team of attorneys can help you get the compensation that you need. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.