Avoid Boating Accidents
June 27, 2012
Summer is finally here and many families are taking advantage of the warm weather by heading outdoors. Recreational boating activities are a popular form of entertainment that many adults and children engage in during the summer months. Whether you are fishing, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, jet skiing, paddle-boarding, waterskiing, or just lounging on a boat either in the ocean, the bay, or any of the nearby lakes and rivers, you must always think about safety first. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger urge the operators and passengers of recreational boating equipment to use extreme caution on the waterways ensuring an enjoyable and safe summer.
Coast Guard Boating Accident 2011 Statistics – A Strong Warning
Each year, the United States Coast Guard releases statistics on recreational boating accidents. The 2011 statistics stand as a strong warning of the dangers of recreational boating:
- 4,588 boating accidents
- 758 fatalities and 3,081 injuries
- Highest number of accidents occurred in July, followed by June and August
- 70 percent of the fatal accident victims died from drowning
- 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Operator inattention, improper lookout, and operator inexperience were the top three contributing factors associated with the most number of injuries while the use of alcohol was ranked as the primary contributing factor in boating accidents that resulted in death. Open motorboats were cited as the most common type of vessel where boating accidents occurred and colliding with another boat or watercraft was responsible for the most number of boating accidents. In 2011, there were a recorded 87 Pennsylvania boating accidents resulting in 22 fatalities and 59 injuries.
Avoid Recreational Boating Accidents with These Safety Precautions
Many recreational boating accidents are preventable; therefore, it is extremely important for boat operators and passengers to be aware of the dangers that lurk on the waterways so that your boating experience does not wind up with a tragic ending. Galfand Berger encourage all boaters to operate their vehicles in a safe manner in order to keep themselves, their passengers, and any one near their vessels safe from injury.
Our attorneys offer safety recommendations to help avoid a boating accident:
*Check the weather conditions: Before heading out on the water, always check your local weather forecast. Avoid any conditions that call for any type of storm. In addition, always inform a trusted individual of your intentions and whereabouts in case an unforeseen change in weather leaves you without the ability to communicate with authorities on land.
*Perform a vessel check before heading out: Make sure there is more than enough fuel and oil for your trip and that the boat is equipped with the proper safety equipment. Navigational lights need to be used at night. A radio or other communication device such as a cell phone should be on onboard in the event of an emergency. You may also need distress signals such as a horn, whistle, flag or flares, a first aid kit, emergency floatation devices, flashlights, and fire extinguishers.
*Boat safety courses: Taking a safety course can help one learn the rules and regulations of the waterways, the effects of water and weather conditions, and emergency procedures. Only eleven percent of the boating accident deaths in 2011 occurred on vessels where the boat operator had received training in boating safety.
*Know how to swim: Although knowing how to swim does not guarantee water safety, it is the first step in being safer in and around the water. This should apply to anyone participating in any recreational boating activity.
*Always wear life jackets: First and foremost, always wear a life jacket. This is considered the most important step in ensuring the safety of yourself and everyone on board. Life jackets are designed to keep the user’s head above water. As the 2011 statistics show, most of the drowning victims involved in a boating accident were not wearing a lifejacket. There should be one life jacket for each person on board, they should approved by the Coast Guard, and they should fit properly. Children should not wear adult life jackets.
*Avoid alcohol: The use of alcohol impairs an individual’s judgment, coordination, perception, vision, and reaction time. The safest plan is to not have any alcohol onboard; however, if there is alcohol involved, designate an experienced and sober individual as the boat operator. Also, be advised that passengers who are drinking are at risk of falling overboard.
The Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger Are Experienced Boating Accident Attorneys
Galfand Berger understands the importance of injury prevention and advocate for safe practices while partaking in recreational boating activities. Unfortunately, boating accidents happen and we are here to help the victims and their families through these tragedies. While assisting our clients through the complex litigation process, we protect their rights and seek the fair compensation they rightfully deserve for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, we encourage you to call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. We have offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Call Galfand Berger today for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online.