Speed boats, sailboats, yachts and even manually powered paddle boats can be a great way to enjoy warm weather and sunshine. Unfortunately, they can also be a source of risk.
Boating accidents can occur any time due to weather, mechanical issues with the vessel or even an encounter with another boat operated by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You certainly do not need to be on the ocean to be at risk either. Landlocked lakes and rivers here in Indiana see boating accidents every year.
Whether you own a boat and want to take out friends or have recently received an invitation to go boating, there’s one safety tip that is the most crucial when going out on a boat.
Protect yourself and your passengers from the risk of drowning
Drowning is the leading cause of death for people on boats. In 2019, the most recent year with boating fatality information available, 79% of the 613 total boating deaths reported that year involved drowning.
Personal flotation devices, also called life jackets or life vests, really aren’t fashionable. In fact, they can be downright uncomfortable. Many people would prefer to just sit next to one rather than wear one. Access to personal floatation devices isn’t enough. Everyone on a boat should wear their life jacket at all times. Even those on professionally operated boats will benefit from wearing a flotation device when on the deck of the vessel.
Keeping your life jacket on and insisting that others wear theirs as well may be the best way for someone operating a boat to protect against injuries and legal claims that could stem from a tragic boating accident.