Boating Safety Week: Know the Facts

As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, take some time to refresh your memory on boating safety. Memorial Day Weekend means that lakes in Southern Illinois such as Rend Lake, Lake of Egypt, and Kinkaid Lake will be overpopulated with boats. Boating accidents are less common than car crashes however can still be fatal. In 2017, there were 4,291 boating accidents in the United States. Of the 4,291 accidents, there were 2,629 injuries and 658 fatalities.

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Here are some statistics from the United States Coast Guard

The Top 5 Types of Accidents include:

  • Collision with recreational vessel (1145)
  • Collision with a fixed object (470)
  • Flooding/Swamping of a boat (435)
  • Grounding (368)
  • Falling Overboard (306)

Top 10 Contributing Factors of Accidents

  • Operator inattention (620)
  • Improper Lookout (471)
  • Operator inexperience (436)
  • Machinery Failure (305)
  • Alcohol Use (275)
  • Excessive Speed (269)
  • Navigation rules violation (257)
  • Weather (198)
  • Hazardous waters (187)
  • Force of wave/wake (169)

Boating Incident Facts 2017

  • Alcohol use is leading contributing factor in fatal accidents
  • 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned and 84.5% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket
  • 8 out of 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length
  • 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller
  • Most common vessel types involved in accidents were open motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (16%)

The National Weather Service along with the National Safe Boating Council has declared May 18 – 24 as National Safe Boating Week. Here are some tips from the Safe Boating Campaign to keep you safe this weekend and every time you are on the boat.

Boat Safety Tips from Safe Boating Campaign

Wear a life jacket.

No matter what activity you have planned on the water, always remember to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket.

Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved, appropriate for your water activity and fits properly.

A life jacket that is too large or too small can cause different situational problems.

Know state boating laws.

Rules and laws can differ from state to state and violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time.

Take a boating safety course.

Learn valuable tips that can help save your life in unexpected situations by taking a NASBLA (National Association of Boating Law Administrators) approved boating safety course. Many courses are online, and will save you money on your boat insurance.

Make sure your boat is prepared.

There are many items that need to be checked and rechecked on any boat. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water. Every Vessel Safety Check is conducted 100 percent free of charge.

Be sure to know your boat’s capacity.

If you have too much on your boat, the boat may become unstable and capsize. Check the weather, including the water temperature. Know the latest marine weather forecast prior to going out, and keep a regular check for changing conditions.

Dress properly.

Always dress for the weather, wearing layers if cooler weather, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

Always file a float plan.

File a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment and emergency contacts.

Always follow navigation rules.

Know the “Rules of the Road” such as operator’s responsibility, maintaining a proper lookout, safe speed, crossing, meeting head-on and overtaking situations.

Don’t drink while you boat.

Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of deaths in 2016.

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it.

Keep in touch.

Communication devices can be the most important piece of emergency equipment on board a vessel, especially in case of emergency.

Contact Us at Sam C. Mitchell & Associates

If you have been injured in a boating accident or auto accident, contact our experienced attorneys at Sam C. Mitchell & Associates. We have been handling only personal injury claims for over 50 years. Contact us for your free consultation at 618-505-1660 or via ourcontact us form.

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