Public affairs: Boating safety 101 by Mattison Holland

The hot windy weather of East Texas makes for great boating climate. It’s good to get out on the water and spend a day at the lake. However, you need to make sure they’re prepared for any possible mishap.

Boating safety is a serious concept. People don’t really understand how dangerous boat accidents can be, or how suddenly they can occur.

No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing on your boat there is specific safety equipment you need to keep up with. A checklist created by discoverboating.com gives us some essential tools.

Essentials include life jackets, make sure they are suitable for anyone who comes on board, fire extinguishers, sound-signaling devices, throwable floatation devices, and visual signaling devices.

These reliable gadgets just might be your saving grace in the middle of an unexpected disaster.

More people than you’d think drive a boat or allow a passenger to drive a boat without a proper license. This is very dangerous and can even cost you money if you receive a ticket.

According to boat-ed.com, “You should always make sure that anyone operating your vessel understands their responsibilities as a driver and knows how to operate safely and responsibly. Before allowing others to operate your vessel: Check that they meet the minimum age and boater education requirements for operation in your state.¨

As a boating operator, it’s your responsibility to know the rules pertaining to your specific county. So always make sure anyone behind the wheel of your boat has their boating license on hand and that they meet any other requirements. Any miscommunications while on the water can have devastating consequences.

When operating a watercraft make sure any persons in attendance have on life vests. Although it is only required for children 13 and under, you can never be too keen.

Make sure to always operate at a safe speed when behind the helm, or boat wheel, especially when around other watercrafts. This will help to avoid any possible accidents.

Sometimes accidents do occur and you will need to know how to react. If you are involved in a collision, and your boat is still afloat, it’s important that you first make sure everyone is alright. The safety of your passengers is priority.

Even if your boat is involved in a crash where the boat either tipped or passengers went overboard, it’s crucial that you make sure everyone involved is rescued and safe. This is why life jackets or PFDs, personal floatation devices, should always be worn or easily accessible.

It’s extremely necessary that in any event of a boating accident you call for help, especially if it’s serious.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department informs individuals of a few people to call in case of an accident. This includes your local game warden, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and local law enforcement.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, ¨Parks and Wildlife Code Section 31.104 requires the operator of any vessel involved in a boating accident must stop and render whatever assistance necessary unless such action would endanger his/her own, crew, or passengers. Assistance to other persons includes that which may be practicable and necessary to save them from or minimize any danger.

¨The operator of any vessel involved in a boating accident must give his/her name, address and vessel identification number in writing to any injured person and to the owner of any damaged property.

Boating, in a way, is very similar to driving a vehicle. One of those similarities is that alcohol is prohibited in the system of any operator. So, make the responsible choice and avoid any inconveniences by steering clear of intoxicating substances.

So, however you may be spending the rest of your summer, make sure to stay updated with any boat-related laws if you’re out on the water. It’s also a good idea to have your life-saving equipment handy. Boat safety is to be taken seriously and cautiously because you never know when you just might need to act fast.

By Mattison Holland

Mattison Holland

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