Spending a warm summer day on the boat is a great way to enjoy North Carolina’s waterways. However, not following safety guidelines and regulations can result in a serious injury or drowning. Before you jump in the boat and head out on the water, Hardee, Massey & Blodgett would like to remind you of some important rules that you should be following:
Life jackets are meant to be worn
Properly sized and fitted life jackets should be worn by everyone on your boat. When searching for life jackets, look for lightweight, comfortable styles that have the seal of approval from the United States Coast Guard (USCG.) If you are using life jackets from last year, make sure you test it to ensure that it is still buoyant and fits appropriately, especially for children. Non-swimmers and kids need life jackets that keep their heads above water. In a report from the USCG, it was noted that 84% of all boat fatalities in 2017 a victim was not wearing a life vest.
Take a boater’s safety course
Whether you’re new to boating or have been boating for years, the National Safety Council recommends boaters enroll in a safety course presented by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. In a boating safety class, you will learn the rules of safe boating as well as laws governing North Carolina’s waterways.
Avoid alcohol on the water
Drinking and driving a boat is no different than driving a car, it can be very dangerous. And, more than half of all boating accidents involve consuming alcohol according to the Boat U.S. Foundation. In the state of North Carolina, a boater who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs can receive fines starting at $250 and up to 60 days in jail.
Remember to pack layers
Before you head out remember this, you should have extra dry clothes for each person on the boat, so pack extra clothing. If someone should become submerged during a boating accident, there is a risk for hypothermia especially during colder weather. It’s important to prepare and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. And, the layer of clothing that is closest to your skin should be a piece of clothing that will wick moisture away from the body, this will keep you warm when the temperatures are cold.
Shield yourself from the sun
Wearing sunscreen is important anytime you are outdoors, it is especially important to wear when you are boating. Being on the water you may feel cool, but the sun is strong. Choose a formula of at least SPF 50 and remember to reapply every few hours, and more on children. You should also wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing along with a wide-brimmed hat.
We hope you have a great summer and if you have a chance to enjoy being on the water, take it! But remember, if you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP are available for a free consultation, 24/7 to review the details of your case.