Now that warmer weather is finally here, people all throughout Ohio are getting ready for their spring and summer outdoor activities. For many people, this means going out on a lake or river in a boat.
If you are one of these people, it is important to take some time to understand the risks of boating and how to prevent them. Since most people think of boating as a fun recreational activity, they don't approach it with the same sense of responsibility they use when they get behind the wheel of a car. In reality though, boating accidents have the potential to cause serious injury or even death.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft offers some helpful safety tips for boaters. Before you head out on the water, review this list and adjust your plans accordingly:
- Be proactive: Before leaving shore, make sure you have everything you need to stay safe. This includes life jackets, emergency flares and maps. In addition, inspect your boat for damage and make sure the engine and lights are working properly.
- Avoid alcohol: Drunk boating is just as dangerous as drunk driving. You wouldn't take a six-pack with you to go for a drive, so save the beer and cocktails for after you return to shore.
- Wear a life jacket: Bringing a life jacket is good, put putting it on is better. You may not have time to grab your life vest in an accident. A life jacket can keep you afloat – and alive – even if you are seriously injured or knocked unconscious.
- Follow the rules: A lake might seem like a boating free-for-all, but there are rules of travel just like there are on the road. If you're new to boating, take some time to review the safety rules before you go out.
Following these tips can help you have a safe and enjoyable time on the water this spring and summer.
Source: Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft, "Safety Tips for Every Boater."
Our law firm represents the victims of Ohio boating accidents. For more information, please visit our website.