With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, boating season has returned to Connecticut. Whether you have been on the water already this spring or you are getting your boat ready for the holiday weekend, you probably know that every time you get out on the lake, Long Island Sound or Fishers Island Sound, you are at some risk of a boating accident.
Tips for safe boating this summer
No matter how careful you are, you cannot know for sure when another boater will be negligent and cause a dangerous collision. Still, you can maximize your chances of having a fun and safe time on the water. Here are some tips for making that happen:
- Always wear a properly-fitted life jacket whenever you are on the water
- Take a boating safety course online
- Have your boat inspected for free by your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons
- Know your vessel’s capacity and avoid exceeding it
- Follow navigation rules, such as operator responsibility, keeping a lookout, how to overtake and cross safely, and maintaining a safe speed
- Never drink if you are piloting the boat
These are all reasonable, common-sense precautions. But we’ve all seen boaters who fail to follow one or more of these rules. If you get caught in the path of a dangerous boater, you or one of your loved ones could get seriously hurt. The risk of drowning brings an added dimension of danger that you don’t get in a motor vehicle crash on land.
Just like when a negligent driver hurts someone else in a traffic collision, a reckless boater who is responsible for another person’s injuries can be held accountable in court.