While this might not have been the summer everyone anticipated back when the weather was cold, most of us have found ways to have fun, and being outside on the water has been a go-to form of recreation, even more, this year than in the past. Swimming, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, or just riding around our great lakes and rivers have become even more treasured ways to spend time this year. As we look forward to a few more weeks of outdoor adventures, there may be some things we should keep in mind to ensure the safety of the people we care about.
In 2019, 613 people died and 2,559 people were injured in recreational boating accidents in the United States (USCG). The leading contributor to fatal boating accidents was alcohol. While it is legal to operate a boat and drink, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence. Operators are expected to observe the same blood alcohol limits as the driver of a car, and the same penalties apply to boat operators as they do to motorists. Unfortunately, the law is not always taken seriously out on the water. According to the US Coast Guard, boating while intoxicated is even more dangerous than driving a car drunk. “The marine environment motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind, and spray accelerate a drinker’s impairment,” causing fatigue and significantly compromising the boat operator’s reaction time (USCG).
Another factor contributing to fatalities is training. Seventy percent of boating accidents resulting in fatalities involved operators who did not receive safety instruction (USCG). One eight-hour course taken in one day can make a significant difference for your safety and the safety of those whose company you enjoy on the water. Most states offer some form of boater safety training, and in Connecticut, boater safety classes are currently offered in online video platforms that provide opportunities for interaction between you and your instructor (see link below).
One more way you can protect yourself and those you care about is to wear life jackets. Eighty-six percent of drowning victims in 2019 boating accidents were not wearing life jackets (USCG).
The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Company want you to enjoy these last few weeks on the water with family and friends safely by taking a boater safety course, wearing a life jacket, and riding with a sober operator. Check with us for more information about insuring your watercraft along with any other insurance needs so you are prepared for a safe journey both on land and in the water.
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