5 Boater Safety Tips

Warm temperatures and clear skies have many hitting the waterways of the beautiful Pacific Northwest this summer.  Whether it’s Lake Washington, Moses Lake, or the Boise River—cool waters promise us some R&R—Recreation and Relaxation!  While no one ever plans to have an accident on the water, they inevitably do happen. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience this summer.

Boat Safety

*ALWAYS wear a lifejacket! Literally every study done on water safety points to a wearing a life jacket as THE best tool to survive any kind of water or boating accident. Make sure it is properly sized and worn correctly by everyone in your party. They’re not just for children anymore! There are a variety of styles of lifejackets; follow the link to see what best suits your needs.  http://parks.state.wa.us/451/Life-Jackets

*The Washington Boater Education Law has specific guidelines and restrictions regulating the use of recreational vehicles—in other words, Boats!  Make sure that you are operating or on a boat that is operated by someone in accordance to local law.  Law enforcement officers patrol the waterways, ensuring that all is well and everyone’s safe. Not carrying a Boater Education Card (permit), in Washington state, can result in a fine. https://www.boat-ed.com/washington/boating_law.html. Laws vary from state to state; check https://www.boat-ed.com/idaho/boating_law.html for Idaho boaters and https://www.boat-ed.com/oregon/boating_law.html for Oregon boaters.

Safety and Responsibility First

*Carry the proper equipment for skiers and tubing. With long breaks between seasons, it’s best to go through an inventory checklist before you hit the water and need something. Don’t assume that old flares will work if they’ve been in the supply bucket for years. Extra clothes, especially for children, is always a great idea to have on board!  Check the exterior for loose ladders and fraying ropes.

*Don’t drink and drive……your boat! In Washington state, it’s illegal to consume alcohol and operate a boat at the same time. Not only does it impair judgment and slow reaction time, it’s just not worth the criminal offense—punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and a year in jail! This misdemeanor also applies to operating a boat under the influence of marijuana, in the state of Washington. Therefore, it’s best to know the limits before you go. http://parks.state.wa.us/879/Boating-Under-the-Influence

*Use Common Sense. It’s every boater’s responsibility to navigate the waters safely. To avoid collisions and accidents: be a good sportsman, keep a safe distance from other recreational vehicles and their occupants, and always be on the look-out for objects and people around you.

Boating is a great way to way to spend the summer.  Most of all remember safety first and create the memories to last a lifetime!

If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, don’t hesitate to contact Fielding Law Group today for help.