Boating fatalities highlight the importance of safety procedures

Temperate California weather means that many recreational boaters will be out in droves this upcoming season. While boating can be a fun and thrilling activity, serious accidents can occur if the proper safety procedures are not followed. In some cases, boating accidents may even lead to death, according to the American Boating Association.

When considering the possibility of fatal boat accidents, one must first look at the numerous contributing causes to such incidents. Much like driving any other vehicle while intoxicated, use of alcohol when boating can greatly impair operator ability. In fact, alcohol usage features in up 21 percent of deaths of occurring while boating. Speeding can also have quite a damaging effect, especially when many other vessels are sharing the same space. Lacking the right experience is another factor in many boating accidents, which is why all operators should strive to be well-informed of pertinent rules and safety regulations.

The accident rates themselves paint a sobering picture for recreational boaters. 2014 saw more than 4,000 boating accidents, which included approximately 600 deaths among the various injuries, in addition to almost 40 million dollars’ worth of property damage. Drowning is a major component in most boating deaths, which illustrates the importance of appropriate safety gear.

As stated by the U.S. Coast Guard, life jackets are an essential safety consideration that have been proven time and again to save lives. Current regulations stipulate that all vessels must have at least one life jacket per every person aboard a boat. Additionally, children must be outfitted with the proper life vest according to many state laws. Jackets should be stored in an easy-to-access location, must be in good condition and other floatation devices should also be accessible for further protection.