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Did you know that over 11 million recreational vessels are registered in the United States? With so many boats on the water, accidents are bound to happen. In 2017, the United States Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating accidents, resulting in over 650 deaths and 2,600 injuries. Knowing these numbers is a good reminder of the importance of boating safety.

Safety is a must when planning fun in the sun and spending time on the water this summer. Taking simple, preventive measures like having the right equipment on hand, wearing a life jacket, and monitoring the weather can make a world of difference. Whether you are on a motorized boat, jet ski, kayak, or wakeboard, being prepared and using common sense can help you avoid injuries.

Boating accidents can still happen even when you proceed with caution and follow adequate safety measures. In many cases, accidents on the water are caused by the negligence or irresponsibility of other vacationers or boaters. Defective products or equipment are other significant issues.

If you are the victim of a boating accident or defective product, Moss Berg Injury Law is here to help. Contact our firm to speak with an attorney in Las Vegas. Our top-rated Nevada personal injury attorneys can advise you on how to file claims and access the compensation you deserve after being injured from a defective product.

Read on for some helpful boating safety tips to keep you and your family safer on the water this summer.

Life Jackets Save Lives
First and foremost, life jackets are essential. They are called life jackets for a reason! These wearable flotation devices may seem simple, but they are at the core of boating safety. In fact, 76% of boating deaths were caused by drowning in 2017. In these cases, 84% of victims were not utilizing life jackets. Life jacket regulations can vary depending on where you live. In Nevada, anyone under 13 is legally required to wear a life jacket.

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The NSBC Offers Life Jacket Resources
The NSBC (National Safe Boating Council) promotes the Wear It program, encouraging adults and children alike to implement life jacket safety any time water activities are enjoyed. Program promoters recommend using life jackets when boating in motorized or non-motorized vessels.

Even Great Swimmers Should Wear Life Jackets
Even if you are a great swimmer, wearing a life jacket is smart. The water may be colder than you realize, making it difficult to swim. Additionally, unexpected turbulence can lead to slip and fall injuries that may put you at risk of drowning if you go overboard. Becoming unconscious or disoriented in the water is another problem. Life jackets help keep your head above water so you can breathe until help arrives. It is best for every child to wear a life jacket at all times when on a boat, whether they can swim or not.

Be Sure You Wear Life Jackets Correctly
You will also want to choose the right jacket and wear it properly. Life jackets should fit snugly, be the proper size, and accommodate your weight. A life jacket should also be properly fastened at all times.

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To ensure that your life jacket fits properly, hold your arms straight above your head and have someone else grab the top arm openings and gently tug downward. Once the jacket is in place, secure it snugly. Ensure there is no excess room above the openings where the jacket can ride up. A life jacket should not be able to rise over your chin or face.

Get Educated and Stay Sober
It is crucial to get educated before heading out for water fun. All boaters should know and practice safe boating practices to reduce the risk of getting hurt or drowning. The NSBC encourages boaters to take safety courses, familiarize themselves with state laws, and know the rules of the water. Common sense is also key. Drinking on a boat is never a brilliant idea, as fun as it may seem. Alcohol is a common denominator in many boat accidents in Nevada. In fact, it contributes to over one third of accidents! So, skip the BUI (boating under the influence) ticket and keep yourself safe this summer.

Know the Risks of Carbon Monoxide
When operating a motorboat, carbon monoxide is another important factor to consider. Since carbon monoxide is odorless, it is hard to detect. Knowing about boat carbon monoxide risks can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Be Ready for Anything
Why take risks when you can be prepared? There are many things you can do to be prepared for any situation on the water. Here are a few things you can do before you leave to reduce the risk of injury, property damage, or drowning.

Do a Pre-Flight Safety Check
Before setting out, check to ensure that all of your equipment is in good condition and working order. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and US Power Squadron offer free vessel safety checks.

Have a Pre-Departure Checklist and Follow It
You should also review a pre-departure checklist prepared. This checklist will help you remember to have everything you need to stay safe. Important items include tools, life jackets, and first aid kits.

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Make a Float Plan
Before you head anywhere in a boat, make a float plan and leave it with someone you can trust. A float plan is an overview of your excursion that will give the authorities somewhere to start if you go missing. Your float plan may include a description of your vessel, the number of people on board, where you are going, where you are leaving from, and when you are expected to return. Filing a float plan with someone you trust may save your life!

Exercise Good Judgment
You and all of your passengers should also use good judgment and be safe. Be sure to dress appropriately and bring any extra items you need. Don’t forget sunscreen and know the signs of heat exhaustion. Respect your limits on the water and avoid unnecessary risks.

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Watch the Weather and Stay Alert
Remember, in a split second, a situation could turn deadly. The weather could change, the temperature could drop, someone could get hurt, or a storm could form out of nowhere. If you notice that storm clouds are starting to form or the temperature has dropped suddenly, it might be time to get out of the water. Sudden changes in wind, wave, or weather patterns are indicators you should head back to land. Staying alert and being prepared can significantly mitigate boating risks.

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Water Skiers, Wakeboarders, and Tubers Should Be Cautious
Wakeboarding, water skiing, and inner-tubing are fun and exciting water sports activities. However, these activities can also be dangerous. After all, traveling at high speeds on the water can lead to injuries, and defective equipment can be a significant danger as well!

• Be sure that all water skiers, wakeboarders, and tubers know how to get out of the water and safely use a tow rope.

• Always have a spotter on your boat who knows basic hand signals and can communicate with other participants.

• Be sure that your tow line is not caught on the propeller or wrapped around your vessel before taking off. Wait for the propeller of a motorized boat to stop spinning before getting back on.

• Only enjoy these water sports during daylight hours.

Final Thoughts About Boat and Water Sport Safety
Now you know. Following the proper safety measures on the water this summer will reduce your risk of injuries and could even save your life! Whether you are using a motorized or non-motorized vessel, life jackets are one of the most important things to have on hand. Stay alert, as sudden weather changes can become an issue quickly. Know the rules of the water in your area and proceed with caution when engaging in motorsports. Never drink and boat, and have first aid equipment available at all times. When you implement safe boating tactics, everyone benefits!

Need a Vegas Injury Lawyer? Call Moss Berg!
Even the most cautious boating enthusiasts get hurt from time to time. Reckless vacationers, defective equipment, and irresponsible boat operators can cause injuries of all kinds.

Injured victims of boating accidents or defective products in the Las Vegas area may be entitled to compensation. If you need a boating accident attorney in Las Vegas, call us. Our Vegas injury lawyer team has years of experience helping clients file claims of all kinds. After a consultation, Moss Berg can help you find the best accident attorney in Las Vegas for your unique personal injury case!

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