July 4th To Bring Out The Boaters In Mases

This 4th of July week is developing into a very warm and clear day nationwide. And with warm and clear weather, boaters will be on the lakes in droves.

With the increase in boating traffic comes an increase in boating accidents.

The US Coast Guard reported that in 2011 4,588 boating accidents occurred with 758 deaths, 3,081 injuries and an estimated $52 million dollars in costs. Considering these statistics, almost 1 in 5 accidents result in a death, compared to 1 in 300 with  automobile accidents. Because of the higher risk to boaters, it makes it that much more important to take extra safety precautions when boating.

The US Coast Guard has indicated that boating accidents have four common causes: Excessive speed; Improper lookout; Operator inexperience; and Operator inattention.

To have a safer 4th of July week celebration while boating, follow these four important boating safeguards:

  • Do not speed, slow down – Remember that a boat, unlike a car, do not have brakes, so give yourself plenty of time to stop, if you need to stop in a hurry. Pay attention to wake-less zones.
  • Pay Attention – Be alert at all times of your surroundings, other boats and personal watercraft. Have others in the boat help to spot others on the water.
  • Know the rules – Be educated on boating safety requirements. Know your distances and standard operating procedures for boats. Take a boating safety course.
  • Drinking and Boating – Don’t mix drinking and boating. Alcohol plays a role in the cause of accidents each year.

Most boating accidents are due to operator error. Be prepared and alert, and you’ll have a fun, accident-free week. And remember to wear a life jacket.