Boating Safely in Georgia

As the weather warms, we Georgians are ready for lazy summer days on our boats. Boating is a time-honored tradition in our state. Unfortunately, not everyone exercises proper precaution when participating in this pastime. If you or someone you care for have suffered an injury as a result of being involved in a boat accident that was caused by the negligence of someone else, contact an experienced Savannah, GA boat accident lawyer for legal help and counsel. Follow these safety tips to make this your best and safest summer yet.

Wear A Life Jacket

No matter what vessel you are commanding–a tiny canoe, a solo kayak, or a speedboat–a life jacket should always be part of your boating attire. The United State Coast Guard estimates that around 80% of lives lost due to boating fatalities could have been prevented if victims had been wearing life jackets. If you’re the captain of the ship, it’s your responsibility to make sure your passengers are safe. Encourage them to wear life jackets at all times. In the event of an emergency, there’s rarely time to reach for preservers that are stowed away.

Avoid Intoxicating Substances

Just like any other motor vehicle, it’s unlawful to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or other illicit substances. The stakes are higher when you’re drinking on a boat: drink for drink, it’s more hazardous than drinking on land. Exposure to the elements (sun, wind, and spray) dehydrate you more quickly, so your level of impairment is worse because of the conditions on the water. When a passenger or driver drinks, the side effects can include:

  • Cognitive impairment, affecting your ability to process information and make sound judgement calls.
  • Physical deficiency, including a lack of coordination and balance.
  • Decreased sensation, making you more likely to ignore dangerous physical conditions like heat stroke, severe dehydration, or hypothermia.

Boating under the influence is a potential danger to your health, but it also comes with hefty legal penalties. If you’re charged with a BUI in Georgia, you’ll lose your privilege to operate a boat until you complete a mandated course on substance abuse. You’ll also be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and $1,000 in fines. If a child under the age of 14 is on board, you could be charged with endangering a minor.  If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, contact our experienced team of drunk driving collision lawyers in Savannah, GA.

Plan Ahead

Boating leaves you exposed to the elements, including the sun and wind. Bring plenty of snacks and water to prevent fatigue. Slather on the sunscreen, and reapply every couple of hours or after every time you go into the water. Wear lightweight clothing that SPF. If you’re planning on boating in the spring, during early fall, or on an overcast day, bring layers. The weather can change quickly, so plan accordingly!

Practice Swimming Safety

Exercise general precautions when you abandon the boat for a swim. If you have small children, never let them out of view. Always swim with a buddy, and stay in each other’s sight. Monitor yourself for the dangerous “toos:” too tired, too hot, too cold, too thirsty, and too far from safety. Take frequent breaks from the sun, and know your limits.

What if Another Boater Injures Me?

You may take every precaution and still end up hurt by someone else’s hand. Unfortunately, safety isn’t as important to some people as it is to others. At Rodan and Love, our Savannah injury attorneys believe you should never have to pay for someone else’s negligence. If you’re suffering under the weight of mounting medical bills and lost wages due to missed time from work, contact our office. We’ll set up a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team who will review the specifics of your case and help you decide on the next steps. To take the first step toward securing compensation from your personal injury claim, get in touch with us today.