As the temperature rises, more and more will start hitting the water to fish, swim, lounge on a boat or enjoy their personal watercraft. Heading to Kentucky’s waterways is a great way to spend some time with family and friends, but before you go boating, you may want to take precautions to ensure everyone’s safety first.
Even if you have been boating since you were a child, it is important to remember that boating accidents can happen anytime. There were 658 fatalities and 2,641 injuries associated with boating accidents in 2021.
If you want to have fun without worrying about your safety, consider the following tips:
Alcohol and boating do not go together
Despite a decrease in the number of boat accident deaths and injuries, alcohol remains the top contributing factor, accounting for 16% of fatalities in 2021. Exhaustion might set in after spending time in the water and from sun and wind exposure.
Alcohol impairs your judgment on its own, but when combined with fatigue, it becomes considerably worse. Without a clear head, you and other passengers on the boat put yourselves at risk of making the wrong decisions.
Without alcohol in your system, you can better spot potential dangers on the water, such as drunk boaters, sudden weather changes or submerged objects.
Keep your life jackets on
Whether you are a good swimmer or not, everyone on the boat should wear a life jacket. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 83% of those who drowned while boating were not wearing a life jacket.
Many people who fall off a boat panic, making it harder to swim. If they hit a portion of the boat or inhaled water as they fell, they may become unconscious or injured and drown.
Have a float plan
A float plan is a document that outlines the details of your boating excursion and helps someone on land know where to start looking in case something goes wrong. Your float plan should include information about your boat, trip details, and the names of the operator and passengers. Before you leave, you can hand the float plan to a trusted friend, family member or the authorities.
Enjoying Kentucky’s waterways is a great way to unwind, but it is not without its dangers. Staying cautious will allow you to avoid preventable safety hazards in the water and keep everyone safe.