Heading into the home stretch of summer, people are squeezing in the last moments of summer fun. Weekends spent at the lake on a boat are a favorite activity for people across the country – especially here in Michigan. As a matter of fact, when comparing data from the US Coast Guard and US Census Bureau, www.boatsafe.com ranks Michigan at the 6th highest state in terms of registered boats per 100,000 people!
It’s easy to get distracted by the joy of boating on a beautiful summer day, though – so please don’t forget about boater safety. According to the US Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics for 2020, 2020 saw a major uptick in boating accidents. There were 5,265 documented boating accidents resulting in 767 deaths – that’s a 26.3% rise in boating accidents from 2019, and a 25.1% rise in fatalities. These increases are likely attributable at least in part to boating being a “safe” outdoor activity amid pandemic restrictions.
If you’re heading out on a boat to enjoy the remaining days of summer, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Take a boater safety refresher course if you’re going on the water after a long absence from captaining a boat.
- Have a designated driver on the boat with full knowledge of boater safety rules and best practices. It can be easy to get caught up in the summer fun, but it’s important to operate a boat as seriously as you do a car or other motor vehicle.
- All passengers onboard should wear a life jacket that fits properly.
- If you are enjoying water sports off the back of the boat, such as tubing, wakeboarding, or water skiing, ensure you have a spotter on the boat, solely dedicated to watching the participant so the driver can focus on safe driving.
- Know the boater right of way rules to ensure everyone on the water stays safe.