From Amica Insurance:
Boating is a favorite summer activity for young and old, whether motoring around a lake or sailing across the whitecaps in the ocean. But boating can also be dangerous – more than 750 people were killed and 3,000 were injured in boating accidents last year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. That’s why Amica Insurance offers some suggestions to stay safe on the water this summer.
Operator error is the main cause of boating accidents, according to Coast Guard statistics, which show that operator error was the cause of 70 percent of the 4,500 boating accidents reported last year. Alcohol is another contributing factor, cited in nearly one third of all boating deaths reported last year.
“It’s important to operate a boat responsibly,” St. Onge said. “Everyone’s safety depends on it.”
The Coast Guard offers these important safety tips and reminders:
- Keep a first-aid kit, flares and a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher onboard.
- Make sure children under 13 wear properly-fitting life jackets.
- Only allow experienced drivers to operate the boat.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Avoid boating in extreme weather and bring a radio to monitor weather conditions.
- Make sure passengers keep their feet and legs inside the boat at all times.
Boaters also should establish a “hazard zone” that includes all areas of the boat, plus the water 30 feet around it. The Coast Guard recommends that passengers – especially children – avoid being in the water in this area unless the operator has turned off the boat and removed the keys.
“If you own a boat, it is important to educate yourself about boating safety to protect your passengers and fellow boaters,” St. Onge said. “Be prepared for the unexpected, and have a fun, safe summer on the water.”
The U.S. Coast Guard, Power Squadron and other organizations offer boating safety courses. For more information, visit uscgboating.org.