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Legal Blog

Small Boat Safety Tips

The sunshine-filled days of summer are perfect for relaxation on the water, but enjoying fun still, requires taking precautions. The following small boat safety tips can be the difference between life and death, so be certain to familiarize yourself with them to protect your family and friends.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a small boat accident, contact Houston maritime accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Our years of experience in helping clients mean that we can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call us at (281) 283-8500 to learn how we can help protect your rights.

Small Boating Accidents are Common

The American Boating Association reports there were more than 4,400 boating accidents in 2016 that resulted in over 2,900 injuries and 700 deaths. At a fatality rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, this was an 11.3 percent increase over the 2015 fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Furthermore, the number of accidents increased more than 7 percent.

Boating Safety Tips

In Texas, hundreds of boating accidents occurred in 2016 with more than 35 fatalities that year. This is why the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) boater education and law enforcement staff encourage people to be safe on the water.

  • Never operate a boat while drinking alcohol. Drinking and boating never mix, and this led the state’s game wardens to arrest 155 people last year who were operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than .08 percent (with .08 percent or higher considered legally impaired). In addition to this illegal BAC resulting in possible loss of boating license and fines, it can also cause accidents and fatalities for those on the water, including the boat’s passengers.
  • Always carry lifejackets on board. Boating accidents can turn fatal when people fail to wear a lifejacket. Three in four fatalities in 2015 were because of drowning and 85 percent of those victims were not wearing a lifejacket. Texas law requires a personal floatation device be aboard a boat for every passenger on it, and children under age 13 are required to wear one while on a boat. Despite this mandate, there were more than 560 citations issued in 2016 for children not wearing a lifejacket.
  • Know how to swim. While most people know how to swim, it can be an important skill if your boat is damaged on the water. Adults and children who plan on riding in a small boat should take a swimming class or make sure they can swim for an extended period of time. If you are forced off a boat, you may be far from shore. The American Red Cross offers swimming lessons taught by certified instructors.
  • Take a boating safety course. Training courses that teach you how to operate and manage a boat safely can help you and your passengers. Paddlers in canoes and kayaks, as well as those on stand-up paddleboards, can enroll in a free online safety course on the TPWD website, while anyone born after September 1, 1993, must complete a boater education class to operate a boat with a 15 horsepower or greater.

How The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Can Help

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help if either you or a loved one is hurt in a small boat accident because of someone else’s carelessness. We know that an accident can negatively affect your quality of life and lead to physical, emotional, and financial suffering, so let us help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation.