As summer is starting to wind down and Georgians are preparing to get back to a regular fall schedule (or at least as regular as possible in the midst of COVID-19), there are still opportunities to get out on the waterways. Boating is one of the few activities that can be done while properly distanced in an outdoor environment where it is far more difficult for the virus to spread. And Georgia has numerous lakes, rivers, and parks that are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors on a boat.
If you are one of those who is planning a boating excursion, be sure to take all of the proper precautions. There are thousands of boat accidents and hundreds of deaths on the waterways each year, so it is very important to be conscious of boating safety.
Here are seven important tips for preventing a boating accident in Georgia:
Understand and Follow the Boating and Navigation Rules
There are many different rules and regulations that a boater must be familiar with. Some of these are state laws, while others are specific to the waterway in which you will be navigating. Before going out, always know the rules that need to be followed and consider taking a boat safety course at some point so you are educated on all of the best safety practices.
Know What You are Getting Into
Weather conditions are always a major factor when you are preparing for a boating excursion. Hopefully, you will have clear/sunny skies and just enough of a breeze to keep you cool without creating dangerous waves. But we all know that “perfect” weather conditions are not likely, so we need to always keep abreast of the latest forecast and advisories. Follow any local advisories that have been issued, and if necessary, you might even have to postpone your trip.
Use a Checklist
Many people use a checklist before going on vacation, and a checklist is also a good idea before you go out on a boat. By having a checklist, you will help ensure that all of the pre-launch tasks are completed, and that you do not miss any important details.
Have Adequate Safety Equipment Onboard
One thing that should always be on your checklist is to ensure that there are enough life jackets/vests for everyone to wear, and that there are plenty of flotation devices available in case someone goes overboard. You should also make sure you have a first aid kit on board as well as a fire extinguisher and anchor.
Notify Someone that You are Going on the Water
Whenever you take a boating trip, you should always tell someone who is staying behind where you are going to be and approximately what time you plan to be back. Things can get dicey sometimes on the waterways, and there may even be times when you are out of cell phone coverage and unable to call for help. Having someone onshore who is aware of your trip provides an extra layer of security as they will be able to monitor your progress and contact the authorities to search for you if you do not come back within a reasonable amount of time.
Just as drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly combination, the same holds true for drinking and boating. It is true that alcohol is often a major part of many boat outings, but regardless, whoever is driving the boat needs to be committed to staying sober. No exceptions.
Avoid Distracted Boating
Another important issue that the boat driver needs to be aware of is getting distracted by his/her cell phone. It is tempting to take selfies and videos while out on the water, or even to send and receive electronic messages. But keep in mind that these activities are very dangerous when you are driving a boat, because they distract you visually, manually, and cognitively. If you are driving the boat, the best thing to do with regards to your phone is either leave it onshore or have someone else handle it.
Injured in a Boating Accident in Georgia? Contact Ross Moore Law for Assistance
You can follow all of the laws and best safety practices on the waterways, but unfortunately, you cannot control what others do. If you or someone you know suffered injury in a boat accident, you may be entitled to compensation as long as you were less than 50% at fault. After receiving proper medical care, your next call should be to an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
At Ross Moore Law, we have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for victims of all types of personal injuries in Georgia. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work and exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. For a free consultation and case assessment with our attorney, message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146. We look forward to serving you!