With the arrival of summer comes the urge to take to New Jersey’s waterways and soak up some sun. However, it seems the number of recreational boating accidents is increasing and heading out onto the water is becoming a more dangerous activity.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, approximately 4,158 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2015, killing 626 and causing more than 2,613 reported injuries. Unfortunately, 122 of those boating accidents occurred in New Jersey, causing eight deaths. According to state reports, this is a jump from the three deaths that occurred in 2014 due to boating accidents.
How to Stay Safe on a Boat in New Jersey
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium reports that there are roughly 175,000 registered vessels in New Jersey. Whether you’re getting on board one of these vessels to go fishing or to just soak up some sun, it is important that you understand how to keep you and your passengers safe this summer.
The Coast Guard reports that alcohol is the leading cause of all fatal boating accidents in the country, so it is important that you stay sober out on the water. In New Jersey, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration while operating a boat is .08.
Any experience you have behind the wheel of a car does not translate to how well you’ll operate on the water. It may be in your best interest to take a boating course before you set sail, especially given that inexperienced boaters may not recognize potential hazards or can be unsure of how to respond to dangerous situations. Even if you are an experienced boater, it’s always a good idea to brush up on safety.
Always check the weather beforehand and make sure each passenger has a life jacket. You should have a float plan ready and make all passengers aware of it, should the worst happen while on the water. And as tempting as it may be, it is important not to engage in reckless behaviors, like traveling at high speeds or trying out daring maneuvers.
Whether you’re on the shore, Lake Carnegie or Atsion Lake, you don’t want a boating accident to put a damper on your experience. Always follow these safety tips to ensure you and your passengers make it home safely.
Spevack Law Firm is a personal injury law firm that helps victims of boating accidents in the Iselin, New Brunswick and Teaneck areas of New Jersey.