As the Louisiana summer heat starts beating down, more and more people are escaping to their recreational boats to enjoy their leisurely time. However, as people enjoy their time out on the water, safety can sometimes take a back seat to the fun being had. This is especially true for recent years; in 2015, the number of boating accidents increased 2.3% and the number of deaths increased by 2.6% compared to 2014. Overall, the Coast Guard counted approximately $42 million of damage to property result of recreational boating accidents.
The number one cause of death from boating accidents is drowning followed by trauma. The importance of lifejackets can not be stressed enough: After an accident, people are six times less likely to die from drowning if you are wearing one. Of the 562 deaths from boating accidents in 2015, 424 victims were not wearing a lifejacket.
Boating safety is important all the time; however, it is extremely important during these hot summer months. As the temperature rises in the summer, so does the number of boats in the water. With the increase of boaters, the number of accidents greatly rises. It is extremely important to always be aware of your surroundings while boating, and be conscious of the boats around you.
We advise the following seven safety tips while boating:
- Wear a lifejacket at all times and insist that your guests do the same.
- Limit alcohol use while boating. Alcohol is one of the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
- Take a boating safety course. Only 12% of boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had received a boating safety certificate. You can view classes here.
- Don’t boat and text. Just like on our roads: talking,
- texting and other use of smartphones while operating a vehicle is highly dangerous.
- Operate at a safe speed and always
- maintain a proper lookout. Take note of visibility, boating traffic density, and hazards such as shoals, rocks, or floating objects.
- Always tell a friend or family before leaving on any boat trip.
- Have your vessel checked for safety for free! The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer vessel safety checks free of cost.
Whether you are boating on False River, Lake Pontchartrain, or anywhere else in Louisiana, we hope these tips help keep you and your family safe on the water this summer. For more summer safety tips, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow our Facebook page!