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Your Boating Safety Checklist

Boating season will soon be in full swing in all over Georgia.  Being on the water is one the greatest pleasures of life for avid boaters.  As with any activity, however, it is important that you follow all safety precautions to avoid any accidents or injuries.

The National Safe Boating Council has its own general safe boating tips.   The pre-departure boating checklist below will also help you be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

First of all, make sure that the weather conditions are not only pleasant, but also safe where you plan to go boating. Check weather forecasts as well as tide and current reports.

Be sure to inform friends or family members of your sailing plans. Let them know where you plan to sail, and when you are planning on going.

Make sure that you account for the safety of all crew members and passengers on your boat, and have enough safety equipment for all persons on board.   Safety equipment includes flotation devices, flares, fire extinguishers, and horns or other sound devices.  This equipment should be readily available and accessible on your boat.  Everyone should be aware of basic safety precautions.   Your passengers should also know how to operate a the radio on the boat  in case of an emergency.

If there are passengers who do not swim, it is extremely important that they are properly fitted with flotation devices when they are on the water.    It is best to have all passengers wearing flotation devices at all times while on the water.

Make sure that there is someone who can be second-in-command who can handle your duties in case you become incapacitated or unable to operate the craft for any reason.

Your boat should have a first aid kit with emergency medical supplies and sunscreen.

Before you start the engines, check the oil and fuel levels. After you start your engine, check for oil pressure and see if the cooling water is flowing.  Boat engines emit carbon monoxide which can be deadly.  You should have carbon monoxide detectors on your boat to ensure against carbon monoxide poisoning.

It goes without saying that you should not operate your boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Not only is it unsafe, but it is also illegal under Georgia and Federal law.

If it has been a while since you last operated a boat, taking a safe boating course is recommended.  Even if you do go boating regularly, a refresher course in boating safety is always a good idea.

Being prepared increases your changes of a safe and enjoyable boating experience.  Boating accidents are much more common than you may think. According to the Coast Guard, in 2017 alone, there were 4,291 boating accidents on American waters, and these resulted in 658 fatalities.

The three most common types of boating accidents involve a fall overboard when a person falls into the water, an accident when a boat collides with another boat or object, and capsizing or overturning of the boat.  As many as three-quarters of the deaths that occurred in boating accidents in 2017 involved drowning which underscores the importance of wearing flotation devices or life jackets at all times in the water. Remember, swimming in the open ocean is not like swimming in your backyard pool. Even a solid swimmer can struggle in strong currents.   Be sure to take all necessary steps so that you and your guests can have a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident that you believe occurred as a result of another person’s negligence, talk to an Atlanta boating accident attorney at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your legal rights to compensation for your losses. Call us to schedule a free initial consultation.