With warmer weather comes an increase in boating traffic on New York waterways. A year-and-a-half after the enactment of Brianna’s Law, safety remains of paramount importance. A friendly reminder of responsible operating practices is important, particularly if it helps prevent deaths and injuries on the water.
First and foremost, boaters should ensure that their paperwork is in order, including any mandatory safety certificates. Before the launch, boaters should also have safety gear and equipment, including life jackets, first aid kits and distress signals.
Proactive safety measures matter. Life jackets are of paramount importance, with estimates of 80 percent of fatalities prevented by their use. Checking weather conditions is essential as well.
Recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics from 2019 underscore the importance of that proactive approach. The Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division reported more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents that resulted in 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries, and $55 million in property damage. The Coast Guard is a great resource for boating safety information.
For many boating enthusiasts, relaxing on the water includes enjoying adult beverages; however, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is not just a criminal matter. Drunk watercraft operators present severe and potentially deadly risks, just as drunk drivers do. Impairment affects peripheral and night vision as well as judgment, coordination, and reaction time, all of which both contribute to the happening of accidents and adversely impacts one’s ability to assist others in danger.
If you are going to be operating a boat, do not risk the safety of others by consuming alcohol. Boating can be a safe, enjoyable summer activity, but it can also become very dangerous if operators fail to follow the basic common sense safety rules.