With spring here and summer months approaching in Rhode Island, many enthusiastic boaters will begin to hit the coastal waters again for another boating season. Known for being the “Ocean State,” Rhode Island sees recreational boating accidents occur throughout the boating season. However, boating accidents do not only occur on the open ocean, but can occur on lakes and ponds as well. Just like driving a vehicle on the road, the operation of a boat can lead to serious Rhode Island boating accidents.
What Are Common Tips To Avoiding Rhode Island Boating Accidents?
Approximately 5,000 boating accidents were reported in 2011, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. These accidents resulted in over 4,000 injuries and 600 deaths, while causing roughly $50 million in property damage. On average, nearly seven per 100,000 registered boats and other water crafts died as a result of these boating accidents.
Here are some tips for the upcoming boating season that could not only reduce the amount of Rhode Island boating accidents, but could lessen the amount of fatalities on the Rhode Island waters:
- Do not drink and operate a boat: In 2014, the United States Coast Guard found that the use of alcohol while operating a boat was the second leading cause for boating accidents. Your motor skills become impaired and the ability to properly operate the vehicle is diminished. Even if you are not the one operating the boat, becoming intoxicated aboard a ship can be extremely dangerous.
- Do not speed: In every state there are speeding laws when it comes to boating. At night, you cannot always trust your senses to determine whether the way is clear. For example, another boat’s lights may be failing or shut off, creating a danger if speeding. The laws will not excuse boaters who do not travel at a reasonably safe speed for the environment, especially at night.
- Have proper lighting: Continually check that all your lights work and that your boat contains all the lights that you should have on the vessel. As mentioned above, people cannot make a quick turn to avoid hitting you at high speeds, especially when they are unable to see your boat until the last minute.
- Wear a life jacket: According to Coast Guard statistics, about half of the drowning fatalities in boating involve boaters without life jackets. You might think having one nearby is good enough and can always grab it as you need it in times of an emergency. However, studies show that it is unlikely you’ll ever get it on once in the water and panic has set in.
- Monitor the weather and surroundings: The Coast Guard attributes over 700 boating accident deaths in 2011 to environmental issues such as weather, congested waterways, problems with dams, missing navigation aids and hazardous waters. You should check the weather report and report on water conditions before heading out and continually while on the water. If it looks like the weather is going to get bad, you should return to shore as soon as possible in a safe, responsible manner.
Contact a Rhode Island Boating Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Rhode Island boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. We are accepting Rhode Island boating accident cases and we charge no fee unless you get an award or settlement. Call us at one of our Rhode Island boating accident offices or toll free at 1-800-992-6878, or fill out a contact form on our website for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.