Boating Safety 

If you’re planning on boating in Arkansas this season, don’t forget to put boating safety first. While you might be anxious to get out on the water, ignoring the risks involved can put you, your passengers, and other boaters in danger. So, what do you need to know? Here are 10 boating safety tips from the injury lawyers at Oliver Law Firm: 

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Boat is Ready for the Water

Before you get on the water, you should make sure your boat is ready for the journey. Perform some simple checks—and, if your boat needs any maintenance or new equipment, take care of these in advance so they don’t delay your departure:

  • Check all engine fluids
  • Check your ground tackle
  • Fill up with fuel
  • Make sure the hull and deck are in good shape
  • Make sure you have all necessary safety equipment onboard

Tip #2: Check the Forecast Before You Leave Home 

The weather conditions can make or break a day of boating. To make sure you aren’t tempted to go out in bad conditions, you should check the forecast before you leave home. If you decide it is safe to go out, continue to check the forecast throughout the day, and commit to heading home if conditions change for the worse. 

Tip #3: Plan Your Route 

It is also a good idea to plan your route before you leave home. There are plenty of apps that make this easier than ever. By planning your route in advance, you can make sure you avoid shallow areas and other hazards that could lead to groundings and other potentially serious accidents. 

Tip #4: Put Down Your Phone

While it is okay to take photos and check the forecast when it is safe to do so, you should generally avoid using your phone at the helm. Distracted boating can be dangerous, and it only takes one unexpected sandbar, buoy, or reckless boater to ruin a day on the water. 

Tip #5: Never Boat Under the Influence 

Boating under the influence is dangerous as well. If you are the captain of the ship, you should not be drinking on the water. As the captain, you are responsible for everyone’s safety onboard, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not cause a serious or fatal boating accident. 

Tip #6: Make Sure Your Passengers and Crew Know What to Do (and What Not to Do)

If you have passengers or crew who are getting on the water for the first time, you should make sure they know what to do (and what not to do) while you are underway. If you need people to sit down so you can see, let them know. If you need them not to be running on deck or leaning over the side, let them know this as well. 

Tip #7: Observe the Rules of the Water 

All boaters should observe the rules of the water. When boating on Arkansas’s waters, it is your responsibility to:

  • Respect other boaters’ right of way
  • Avoid creating dangerous wakes 
  • Avoid dangerous and unpredictable maneuvers 
  • Observe all mandatory signs, flags, and navigation aids 
  • Take evasive action to avoid a collision (even if you are the “stand on” vessel)

Tip #8: When in Doubt, Slow Down 

When in doubt, slow down. Carrying too much speed in a boat can be dangerous; and, the faster you are going, the longer it will take you to stop. If you are concerned about the depth or there are a lot of other boats on the water, take a cautious approach that prioritizes safety above all else. 

Tip #9: Watch Out for Dangerous Boaters

No matter how much you do to keep yourself safe, you will still encounter dangerous boaters on the water. With this in mind, you should constantly be watching for dangerous boaters. If you see someone who makes you concerned, give them plenty of leeway, and report them to local authorities if necessary. 

Tip #10: Know What to Do in the Event of a Boating Accident 

Our final boating safety tip is to make sure you know what to do in the event of a boating accident. While many accident scenes can be managed with relative safety, not knowing what to do can make your situation much more dangerous. You should report the accident to local authorities promptly, follow their instructions, and then contact a lawyer for help as soon as possible. 

Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer for FREE 

While we hope you are able to have a safe and enjoyable boating season in Arkansas, we are also here to help if you get injured in a boating accident. 

To schedule a FREE case evaluation with an injury lawyer at Oliver Law Firm, contact us today online or at  479-202-5200. We help clients across Arkansas and throughout the United States from our office in Rogers, AR.