The 5 Biggest Hazards Boaters Need to Watch Out For

July 26, 2021

Spending time on the water is a lot of fun, and a fantastic way to appreciate the beauty Louisiana has to offer. However, there is always an element of risk involved with operating watercraft like boats and jet skis, and it is crucial you respect the rules of the water. Read on to discover five of the biggest hazards boaters need to watch out for.

1.    Bad Weather

No matter where you live in Louisiana, and whether you are boating on a lake, river, or the ocean, the weather is one of the biggest hazards for boaters. Changes in the weather can happen suddenly and dramatically affect the safety of the water.

Anyone planning on going out on a boat should check the weather forecast before they go and be prepared to change their plans if necessary. The National Weather Service releases a new maritime forecast a minimum of every six hours that boaters should tune into. Boaters should also keep an eye out for signs of weather changes such as gathering clouds and static on the AM radio.

Examples of weather conditions that can be hazardous to boaters are fog, high winds, and rainstorms. With its subtropical climate, Louisiana frequently experiences tropical cyclones and is vulnerable to hurricanes and tornadoes. It also has more thunderstorms per year than any other state except Florida, meaning that it can be a risky pastime if boaters are not well prepared.

2.    Alcohol Use

Many people see a boat trip as a fun day out and make the mistake of having a few drinks while out on the water. Not only is operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol illegal, but it is also incredibly dangerous for you, your passengers, and others on the water. In fact, in Louisiana, more than 40% of fatal boating accidents involve either the boat operator or passengers drinking alcohol.

Alcohol clouds your judgment, impairs your balance and coordination, and dilates your blood vessels, making your body temperature drop quicker. Passengers of a boat should also avoid or limit drinking as they can put themselves and others at risk.

3.    Waves

When operating a vessel on a large waterway such as a big lake or the ocean, waves become a hazard you must account for. The size, and therefore the safety of a wave, depends on the strength and duration of the wind and the amount of open water the wind is blowing across.

It is vital that anyone planning on boating on open water only does so in an appropriate vessel. You must also track the forecast for the speed of the wind. If in doubt, do not take your boat out, particularly if you do not have much experience.

4.    Shallows, Stumps, and Debris

Another significant hazard for boaters is submerged objects in the water, such as rocks, stumps, logs, and other debris. These can be difficult to spot and, if you collide with them, can damage your boat’s motor or hull and injure those on board. If you hit the object at speed, passengers can even be thrown off the vessel. Unexpected shallow waters can have a similar effect.

In addition to keeping a close lookout for objects in the water, the boat operator must always drive at a safe speed to reduce the chances of a nasty collision. Everyone on the boat must also wear a life jacket: it could mean the difference between life and death if they fall into the water.

5.    Other Boat Traffic

It does not matter how experienced a boater you are; you cannot control other people’s actions on the water. Even if you are taking every safety precaution, others may not be. That means that one of the biggest boating hazards is always other boaters.

The best way to keep yourself safe from the actions of other vessel operators is to steer clear from them as much as possible and report any violations you see.

After Being Involved in a Boat Accident

While boating is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors, it comes with many dangers that you need to be prepared for. Unfortunately, some of these hazards are not under your control, such as how other boaters act.

If you have been injured in a boating accident that you believe was not your fault, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost wages. With the help of experienced Louisiana boat accident attorneys Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, you could get the damages you deserve. Call us today to arrange a confidential, free initial consultation. With our no fee guarantee, you don’t have to worry about paying legal fees or expenses unless we win a settlement for you.