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Boating Safety in Georgia

By Evan L. Kaine

Warmer weather and the summer holidays are here. Many of us will be enjoying the time off by getting together with family and friends. One popular way to spend the warm Georgia days is at the numerous lakes our great state has to offer. However, with popularity on the open waters also come safety concerns.

Georgia Boating Accident Statistics

Last year (2016) saw the following drownings, boating under the influence, incidents, injuries and fatalities:

Tips for Boating Safely

Boating can be extremely dangerous and we have seen countless incidents that have injured and killed loved ones. Our goal is to share information and educate you about how you and your loved ones can stay safe while also enjoying “the lake life”.  Please consider the following tips so you don’t become a part of these alarming statistics.

  1. Pay Attention to the Weather: Don’t ever be on the open water when it is storming; especially lightning. Volatile winds and sudden drops in temperature can also create problems for your boat and its passengers. Make sure you have a radio or electronic device that provides weather updates while you are enjoying the waves.
  2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist: Before you ever pull out of the marina or back your boat into the water, you should go over a pre-departure checklist. Items include life jackets for all passengers, lights, distress signals, fire extinguisher, tools/spares, documentation, emergency locator beacon and sound producing items (whistles on life-vests).
  3. Common Sense: Always operate your vessel at a safe speed and stay alert at all times. A larger vessel on the open water has a harder time turning and stopping in unforeseen circumstances. Please respect all buoys and navigational aids that are marked on the water.
  4. Designate a Skipper: While you may be captain of the ship, make sure you have a secondhand man/woman to take over the vessel if something were to happen. It is always good to have an extra set of hands who knows how to operate the vessel in case something goes wrong.
  5. Have a Float Plan: This may seem silly, but it is important to have every passengers name, address and phone number on a sheet of paper. Additionally, make sure all passengers know where you are planning on going and how to properly use a life-vest before ever leaving the dock.
  6. Avoid Alcohol: If you are of legal age, we know a nice cold one and the freedom of boating sound nice. However, alcohol is one of the leading causes for boating accidents and far too many lives have been lost because people have been irresponsible. Just like a car on the highway—don’t drink and drive!
  7. Take a Boating Course: Don’t ever operate a vessel that you don’t know how to use! Just like a vehicle, it is necessary to know how to properly handle the boat. We suggest you taking a boating course so you are a knowledgeable captain.
  8. Free Vessel Safety Check: The United States Coast Guard offers a free vessel safety check and we suggest you do this!! This should put your mind at ease knowing your vessel has been properly checked by the USCG. You never know what you may be missing—so let the experts take a peek.

The open waters of Georgia will be filled with laughter and memories in the coming months, so we urge you to keep you and your loved ones safe. If you have questions on any rules/regulations Georgia has on boating, please visit the following website: https://www.boated.com/assets/pdf/handbook/ga_handbook_entire.pdf.

If you have been in a boating accident and need legal assistance, please contact our office immediately!

Posted in Boat Accidents |
Published May 30, 2017
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