There is nothing like setting sail on Lake Michigan or Lake Huron in the spring or summer. The cool breeze and warm sunshine, topped with some fishing or swimming, make for an idyllic day. Yet, boating safety often takes a backseat on outings. Every year, hundreds of people die from accidents on the water. Most of them are even avoidable with a few simple safety checks and precautions.
If you were in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact the personal injury attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center. We will launch a thorough investigation into your accident and the circumstances leading up to it. You can be confident that our skilled Michigan attorneys will do everything possible to secure you compensation for your accident-related expenses.
Have an Emergency Kit On Board
As prepared as you might be, having an emergency kit on board will be beneficial. Some items you should include in your boat safety kit include:
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Duct tape
- First-aid supplies
Additionally, you should have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person on board. Small children might even have to wear one at all times.
Do Not Drink and Boat
Just as you should never drink when driving a vehicle, you should also remain sober when operating a boat. It is also illegal in Michigan, and you might receive a boating under the influence (BUI) charge. You illegally operate a boat when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. Penalties may include hefty fines, jail time, or suspension of boating license.
You should also remember that alcohol can be even more hazardous on the water than on land. The waves, vibration, engine noise, and other marine environment stressors may accelerate alcohol’s effect on the body.
Check the Weather before Setting Sail
Never leave the dock without checking the weather forecast. Be aware that weather conditions can change rapidly, even if there is no cloud in the sky. Always bring a radio and be on the lookout for changes in weather conditions. If you begin to notice wind shifts, choppy waters, or dark skies, get off the water immediately. A storm is likely approaching, and you do not want to risk capsizing.
Be Mindful of Other Boats on the Water
Always be mindful of other boaters and keep a safe distance. Follow the directions of posted signs and always follow boating rules by the local authorities or property owners. Keep your wake low near other boats, swimmers, and the shore. If you notice passengers on another boat acting recklessly, such as drinking and boating or excessively speeding, move away from them. Once you are in a safe location, report them to local authorities.
Take a Boat Safety Course
Most accidents happen because of operator error. Before you leave the dock, make sure you know the rules and your responsibilities. There are several free online courses available to brush up on boating safety. The BoatUS Foundation offers a free course specifically for each state. Additionally, the United States Coast Guard has a list of online and in-person courses for boating safety.
Speak to a Qualified Michigan Boating Accident Attorney
Even though you take every precaution to stay safe on the water, others might not be as diligent. If another person’s negligence causes an accident or you suffer injuries, contact a Michigan boat accident attorney. Regardless of whether the injury was minor or severe, you deserve compensation for your suffering, and one of our attorneys can help.
You must not delay, though. You only have three years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim in Michigan. The sooner you contact us, the more help we can be. To schedule a free consultation, call (800) 961-8477 or complete our online contact form.