How to Stay Safe on Your Summer Boat Trip

With summer in full swing, your family may be planning a boat trip to a local lake. Boating accidents happen in Nevada every year. Whether you’re on your way to Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, or Lake Tahoe, we have put together a list of tips to keep you safe.

Put Down the Drink and Boat Sober

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, almost 20 percent of boating fatalities cite alcohol as the leading factor. It’s the summer, and everyone heads to the lake for a bit of fun. But just like on the road, alcohol consumption can impair judgment, and lead to dangerous situations on the water.

Even if you’re not the one driving the boat, drinking can place you and others at risk. Alcohol affects your balance even in small doses, which could cause you to fall overboard.

Wear a Life Jacket

Drowning accounts for over seventy percent of boating fatalities. Over eighty percent of these victims were not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets can save your life even if you’re a strong swimmer. Accidents can happen while wakeboarding or water skiing, causing you to lose consciousness.

Although many Nevada boaters operate within the law and keep a life jacket on board for each person, the safest life jacket is the one you have on.

For instructions on choosing the right life jacket for you and your family, visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s guide on personal flotation devices.

Don’t Overload Your Boat

When you plan a boat trip, it’s tempting to invite all your friends to come along. More does not always mean merrier. Too many people on one boat can more easily lead to someone falling or being knocked overboard.

Instead, plan your trips well within your vessel’s limitations.

Know When to Stop Your Engine

Just this month a teacher from Las Vegas lost her leg in a propeller boating accident on Lake Mead. Most propeller related injuries are the result of operator error, but they are preventable.

  • Never start a boat’s engine while it is in gear
  • Know how to identify buoys and flags marking swimming, diving, and other hazardous areas
  • Make sure all your passengers are seated prior to getting underway
  • Slow down when approaching congested areas
  • Never operate the boat with someone sitting on the bow, seat back, gunwale, or transom where they could easily fall into the water

If you own your boat, you may want to consider investing into devices to prevent propeller strikes.

The best time to plan for a safe boat trip is before you’re on the water. All of us at Sam & Ash, LLP wish you a fun lake trip. We hope these tips keep you and your family safe through the summer and beyond.

Sam and Ash are experienced personal injury attorneys serving the Las Vegas community. If you have questions about your options following a boating accident, please call 1 (800) 304-2000 for a free consultation.