There’s nothing cooler than beating the heat with a family boat trip. Whether in the ocean, on a lake or in the river, stay safe on your family outings this summer with these boating safety tips from the maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers.

Be ready for anything

Before you hit the water for a day of fun in the sun, it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you do the following before heading out on a boating trip:

  • Check the weather: When a storm is in the forecast, change your plans. If an unexpected storm arises while swimming, fishing or boating, get to land and seek shelter as quickly as possible. If you are boating and unable to get to shore, crouch down in the boat’s center until the storm passes, and go below deck if possible.
  • Check your boat: Whether you are sailing, operating a motor boat, kayaking or on a jet ski, make sure your craft is in water-ready condition with plenty of fuel and fully operating systems.
  • Don’t overload: Every watercraft has a maximum capacity for number of people and weight. Check your specifications before heading out, and never overload your vessel.
  • Wear lifejackets: Everybody aboard should be wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device during the entire trip.

Observe Safety While Underway

Once you know the weather, have your life jacket on and perform your boat check, the safety concerns don’t end. Follow these tips while on the water:

  • Don’t drink: Alcohol doubles the chance of being killed in a boating accident. Don’t drink while operating a vessel. It’s best to leave the adult beverages on-shore for when you return.
  • Watch your speed: There are no speed limits for boats, but safe and reasonable speeds should still be observed. Citations can be issued for excessive speed or reckless watercraft operation.
  • Watch for swimmers: No matter what type of watercraft you are operating, keep a close eye out for swimmers and always keep a safe distance from anyone in the water.
  • Beware the heat: Sunscreen and drinking water will be two of your best friends on a hot summer day. Make sure to apply sunscreen often to avoid sunburns, and drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. If your boat doesn’t have an cover, consider bringing umbrellas to offer a reprieve from the sun’s rays.

The lawyers handling personal injury cases at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P.  wish everyone a happy and safe summer vacation!