Boating safety is a major concern for people who frequent the waters for recreational fun across the country. In the event of a boating accident, capsize event, or other unforeseen hazard, a drowning accident can occur, and is far more likely to if people are not wearing their life jackets.
The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) has used the Wear It! campaign for several years in a row now to bring attention to the importance of proper life jacket use and safety. In 2016, this campaign will begin on May 21st and run to May 27th. While most of the campaign involves promotional materials and advertisements in various forms of media, they do conduct a single-day challenge where as many participants as possible, from all around the world, are instructed to attend a local event and wear their life jacket. In 2015, a total of 10,917 life jackets were worn in more than 250 events, ranging from Japan to the United States to Nigeria.
Some of the boating tips the NSBC wants to share this spring and summer season include:
- Inspection: You can request that the local branch of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary inspect your boat for a complete vessel safety check. This inspection looks for serious flaws in the boat’s structure or stability as well as necessary onboard safety precautions. Don’t worry about taking up the Coast Guard’s time, either; you will find that they are more than pleased to help people prepare for water and boating safety.
- Weather conditions: Always check all-day forecasts whenever you want to head out on your boat. You should also be dressing appropriately for the water temperature to help stave off hypothermia if you fall overboard.
- Plan ahead: Where are you going and how long will you be out on the water? Get the answers as soon as possible, write them down in a “float plan”, and give it to someone who isn’t going with you. In the case of an emergency or if you have not contacted them by the predesignated time, they can call the Coast Guard for help immediately.
- Sober boating: Not only is boating under the influence illegal, it is extremely dangerous. All the same debilitations that affect a driver affect a boater, only now there is the added hazard of falling into the water while intoxicated. Never boat and drink.
- Life jackets: And, of course, always insist that anyone on your vessel wear a life jacket at all times. Boats big and small can be hit by a wave, strike a reef, or start to sink without warning. Wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket can literally be the difference between sinking and swimming. Please also do not forget to get properly-fitted life jackets for any animals, such as dogs, you bring aboard.
If you would like to know more about Wear It! and how you can participate in May’s upcoming campaign, you can visit their website by clicking here. If you need the help of a personal injury attorney after being hurt in a boating accident, or if a loved one suffered a drowning accident, you can contact The Gilbert Law Group for professional legal representation.