Open road or open water? Think safety first
About a week ago, my husband and I purchased a boat. This isnít our first boat, but it was our first time driving it in the Niagara River, which is absolutely amazing. I am sure those who are avid boaters know that already.
Anyways, it got me thinking about certain safety tips because just like being on the road accidents can happen. Whether it is between two other boats, having a break down, or possibly hitting someone in the water, it can happen. Also, I have to mention that those who use floatation devices such as tubes in the water should not block the entry way into a harbor. That is just not smart and you can get in trouble for it.
Every year, about 700 Americans die in boating accidents and of course, a number of those accidents occur in the summer months when people are more likely to be out on the water.
No. 1 tip-always wear a life jacket. According to the National Coast Guard, approximately 90 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a flotation device. Legally, having personal flotation devices in a boat is good enough, a person is not required to wear one, but if you have little kids or feel uncomfortable on a boat then I recommend wearing one.
As mentioned above, with the summer months alcohol plays a big part in having fun on the water. Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after you has been drinking. The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving while intoxicated penalties, including possible Driverís License suspension.
Although there are no numerical speed limits on the water, citations may be issued for excessive speed or reckless operation. Use common sense, and operate at a safe speed at all times ó especially in crowded areas.
Obey the 50-foot rule. Maintain a 50-foot distance from other vessels, persons, shore, or stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed. Also, donít overload your boat and watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
Itís a good idea for the whole family to enroll in a boater education course. Before you borrow or rent a boat, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway.
Stay safe out there and maybe I will see you on the open water.