New York Small Boat Accidents and Watercraft Accidents Cause a Concern for Needed Boat Safety Information
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Whether you had a long week at work, you are retired or if you are just looking for a way to relax on the weekends one of your ways of relaxing may be by boating. While boating can be very relaxing and can be a great way to have fun recent New York boat accidents have shown that boating can also be very dangerous if you do not follow the proper safety precautions.
Many injuries, some resulting in death, occur every year not only in New York but nationwide. A boating accident report released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) revealed that in 2008 there were 3,331 injuries and 709 deaths (11 were children under the age of 13) caused by recreational boating accidents. As a matter of a fact, nearly 70% of those accidents occurred on boats that were 21-feet or less. Even more disturbing is that the leading contributor (17%) of the fatal boating accidents were caused by alcohol.
Two example of recent deaths caused by speed boat accidents and watercraft accidents in New York is the accident that occurred on Labor Day weekend in the Bronx where a man was killed and three teens were injured and a more recent accident which occurred this weekend in Long Island when three were killed and four were injured in the crash of a 40-foot speedboat.
In this accident local police and the Coast Guard are investigating the exact cause of the accident which is said to possibly be due to driving the boat at too high of a speed.
Here are some important safety tips to remember to help you avoid getting injured while boating:
- Avoid alcohol - "Do not drink and drive" is not only applicable for the road but the water alike.
- Wear a life jacket - A study by the United States Coast Guard showed that 59% of people who were knocked from their boat into the water died because they were not wearing a life jacket. You do not only want to make sure that you and everyone else on your boat have a life jacket available to them but you will want to make sure that you have one that fits each member properly.
- Take a boating course - If you are a new boater or just need to brush up on boating safety rules it is always a good idea to take some time out and educate yourself for any type of circumstance that you may encounter when out on the water.
- Check the weather - Before you go out on your boat make sure you check the weather to make sure the winds won't be too high and make sure the weather will be favorable for boating conditions.
- Have a pre-departure checklist - Having a pre-departure checklist will help ensure that you are in compliance with fire safety regulations, help remind you to fuel up your boat and remind you of any boating rules that you may have forgotten.
- Create a float plan - A float plan includes your name, address phone number, names of all of your passengers, boat type, boat registration information, trip itinerary, types of communication and signal equipment on board.
- Take swimming lessons - If you do not know how to swim but want to go on a boat now is the time to learn how to swim. People who know how to swim have a higher chance of survival than those who do not know how to swim. You can take lessons on how to swim at your local YMCA or at another private swimming class in your area.
- Have another knowledgeable person on the boat - Make sure that you take someone along with you on your boating trip that knows the safety rules and precautions that you want them to use incase they have to take over the boat.
- Go to a Free Vessel Safety Check - Going to a free Vessel Safety Check at your local US Coast Guard will check the condition and presence of the safety equipment that is required by State and Federal regulations on your boat. Make sure you find a free Vessel Safety Examiner in your area.
- Do not speed - Know your surrounding area and know what the safe speed in that area is. Do not drive your boat too fast or else you may lose control and crash creating injuries to yourself, your passengers and/or passengers on another boat.
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