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Boating Safety Tips Can Save Lives

Boating safety tips provide important guidelines for people who enjoy boating, and as the weather warms up, more people will take their boats and watercraft out on Long Island Sound and other New York waterways.

Newsday reported an upswing in boating accident fatalities in 2016, where 22 people died in New York boating accidents (six more than in 2015). It is wise to take safety precautions to avoid accidents.

Guidelines for Boating in New York

Discover Boating suggests the following safety tips:

  • Wear life jackets. The majority of people who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. Make sure that everyone on the boat is wearing a life jacket.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Many boating accidents result from drinking, and your chances of being involved in a boating accident double when boaters are drinking alcohol.
  • Know how to swim. If you fall overboard or your boat capsizes, there’s no substitute for knowing how to swim. The American Red Cross offers swimming classes for people of all ages.
  • Take a boating course. The more knowledge you have, the better your skills will be. Taking a boating course can help you understand how to use common sense and think in a dangerous situation. Under New York State law, anyone operating a personal watercraft (PWC) must complete a boating safety coarse before operating a PWC (jet skis, motorboat, etc.)
  • Be aware of weather forecasts. It is crucial to avoid boating in storms, sudden temperature drops or rough winds. Check the weather forecast before going boating.
  • Be Sensible. Don’t speed, stay alert and keep clear of large vessels. You should also take note of buoys and other navigational indicators that warn you of unsafe areas.
  • Designate an assistant skipper. It is wise to have more than one person aboard who is trained, certified and knows how to operate the vessel. If the skipper experiences an injury or becomes incapacitated, you have a backup plan to get back to shore.
  • Inform family or marina staff of your plan. Someone on shore should know where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone, whether you’re a passenger or driving the boat. Provide all information — names, addresses, phone numbers, boat type, trip itinerary and other facts.

If you have suffered serious injury in a boating accident, our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer a free initial consultation to discuss whether you can recover compensation for damages.