Virtually all Americans are aware of the lethal dangers of drunk driving. Motorcyclists and truckers are well aware of the unique risks they face on U.S. roadways. As marijuana creeps closer and closer to de facto legalization in many states, police departments have worked to educate the public about the dangers of drugged driving as well.
But unfortunately, too many Americans go out on the water without fully realizing the dangers posed by drunk boaters. As the summer recreation season heats up, the Coast Guard is teaming up with municipalities and police departments all over the country to educate the public. And when that fails, put drunken boaters in handcuffs.
Although the public hasn’t quite caught up to speed, personal injury law firms are well aware of the scourge of boating accidents. That’s because every year clients walk through their doors seeking to file personal injury claims after a boating accident. And in the worst case scenario, grieving families seek personal injury settlements that will never be able to make them whole. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, more than 4,000 boating accidents caused 560 deaths, 2,600 injuries, and $39 million in property damage in 2013.
And in fatal boating accidents, alcohol was the most common contributing factor. Of course, there’s one easy way to prevent more fatal boating accidents — apply the same standards you would use before getting behind the wheel of a car. Don’t captain a vessel if you’ve been drinking, and always designate someone to drive the boat if you plan on drinking during a day on the lake or ocean.
But, even if the public wakes up to the hazards of drunken boating, there will still be a few criminals who think the law doesn’t apply to them. If you’ve been injured or experienced property damage because of negligent, reckless, or drunken boaters, then don’t hesitate to contact personal injury attorneys to get the best injury settlements allowed under the law.
And if you’re going out on the water for the Fourth of July or some summer cruising, here’s some basic maritime safety tips to follow:
- Always bring enough life vests for EVERYONE in your party. Double check before leaving the dock.
- If you plan on drinking while on a boat, always designate someone to be the “sober captain” for the trip.
- Make sure you have flares, extra water, a radio, or whatever other safety equipment you might need in an emergency.
- Always travel at safe speeds and watch out for other nearby watercrafts. Even if you follow the laws, you should keep an eye out for reckless boaters in the area.
- Always check the weather before heading out on a boat. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.