We have the benefit of living in an area where the weather for boating lasts year-round. However, this flexibility also has a dark side. Boating accidents are common throughout Nevada and can lead to serious injury and wrongful death. By observing a few simple tips, you can reduce your risk of injury and enjoy safe days on the water. If you’ve been injured on a lake in a Nevada, contact a Las Vegas boating accident attorney from Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.
1. Never Drink and Drive
Some people don’t view driving a boat the same way as driving a car, but they’re both motor vehicles. As such, the rules regarding operating the influence are the same. Boating and drinking carry the same dangers and consequences as drinking and driving. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating accidents in the U.S.
The legal limit for operating a boat is .08%. Unfortunately, sitting out in the sun all day can exacerbate the effects of alcohol, so people reach this limit quicker. To remain safe, designate a properly licensed operator and ensure this person abstains from drinking throughout the trip.
2. Complete All Required Maintenance and Perform Safety Checks
Like all vehicles, boats require regular maintenance to avoid breakdowns. Performing routine maintenance helps decrease the likelihood of breaking down on the water, which can be a dangerous scenario. Additionally, operators should perform safety checks before heading out onto open water.
Make sure that there is enough safety equipment to go around, including life jackets and blow-up rafts. First aid kits, fire extinguishers, emergency flares, and an anchor are all essential safety tools. Check for these each time you go out – don’t simply assume they’re there. Many boating accidents involve drowning, and the vast majority of those who drown are not wearing life jackets.
3. Take a Boating Safety Course
Proper safety instruction goes a long way in preventing accidents and injuries. Taking a boater safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or U.S. Coast Guard can help boaters prepare for any contingency and better react in case of emergency – better yet, know how to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.
4. Check the Weather Before You Leave
Before heading out on the water, check your local weather forecast and observe any water alerts. The National Weather Service often issues alerts for high winds, waves, and other inclement weather. If conditions for boating aren’t optimal, wait for another day.
5. Observe All Rules and Regulations
Bodies of water often have posted speed limits and designated no-wake zones. Observing all posted signage can not only help avoid liability in a boating accident, it also keeps all your passengers and other people on the water safe.
6. Be Vigilant
Just like cars, a large number of boating accidents result from operator inattention. Keep your eyes focused on the water and pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t let yourself become distracted by other passengers or activities happening onboard.
7. Educate Your Passengers
If you’re operating the boat, take the time to educate your passengers about safety and proper etiquette onboard. Ask all passengers to wear a life jacket on the water and go over where other floatation devices are in case of an accident. Ask passengers to limit distracting activities and be respectful of others onboard.
Boats don’t necessarily have “rules of the road,” but operators are expected to follow all signage and use their crafts in a safe and reasonable manner. Following basic safety tips does more than just help your passengers, it also helps shield you from liability in the event of an accident. Observe all of these tips to create a safe trip for yourself and others on your next Nevada boating trip.