There’s hardly anything better in the summertime than boating on one of our many fabulous lakes, whether you’re water skiing or just out for a lazy day of fishing.
However, like driving a car, safe boating is all about responsibility. So this Labor Day Weekend follow the rules of the water and you’ll avoid being one of about 500 people who drown each year from recreational boating accidents.
Labor Day Weekend Boating Safety Tips
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that drowning causes 75% of boating fatalities; 88% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket. So, the first reminder is a no-brainer; a life jacket. Wear it.
Last year in Missouri, the number of boating fatality victims not wearing a life jacket was closer to 90%. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, responsible for patrolling the lakes as well as the roads, reminds you that “Missouri law requires boaters to have a life jacket on board and accessible for each occupant of the boat. Children under the age of seven are required to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat unless they are in the cabin area of a house boat or cruiser. All jet ski and personal watercraft users are required to wear life jackets anytime they are underway.”
A few more things to remember:
1) Driving a boat while drunk can be deadly. It’s also against the law, just as it is when you’re driving a vehicle on the roadways.
2) Know Missouri’s boating laws before you get onto the water. A free copy is available online at http://www.boat-ed.com/mo
3) Do a weather check, and if it looks threatening, just wait. Also, make a working weather radio an essential piece of equipment on the boat and keep extra batteries on hand.
4) Make sure your boat passes a regular inspection and check it out thoroughly before hitting the water.
5) Tell someone about your plans. Make sure they know when you’re leaving and when you plan to return, and keep your cell phone charged and turned on.
6) Contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol using *55 for assistance, or notice of another boater operating unsafely.
Labor Day Boating Accident
If you happen to have an accident, injury or casualty, the law requires that you Immediately report it. An accident report, depending on the type of incident, must be filed within 24 hours or within five days. Check the laws and responsibilities booklet mentioned above for details.
There are hit and run laws for boaters and you will not get away with it. So, just as you would for an auto accident, stop and make sure you assist and exchange information.
Finally, if the injuries or damages are due to a reckless boater, don’t speak with the other party or their insurance company. Contact me. I’ll assess the situation and, if you have a case, I will be on your side fighting for complete and fair compensation.
See you on the water and have a safe Labor Day Weekend.