What could be more fun than a day on the water with family and friends enjoying the sea on a recreational boating trip? For many people in Texas and elsewhere, boating is a splendid pastime that can’t be surpassed as a leisurely way to relax and unwind.
But the pleasure of recreational boating is also fraught with dangers. In fact, a news release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) dated May 26, 2021, states that, “[I]n 2020, boating accidents were at a 30-year all-time high. Fatalities on Texas waterways increased 45 percent in 2020 from 2019, while fatal accidents on the water rose by 61 percent.”
The release goes on to say that, “This year alone — from January through April 2021 — Texas experienced a 40 percent increase in open water-oriented fatalities, including boating and swimming incidents, compared to the same period in 2020.”
The TPWD attributes this rise in deadly boating accidents to causes such as failing to wear a life jacket, operating a vessel under the influence and. lack of knowledge about boating safety on the part of boat operators.
As is the case with operating a motor vehicle, safety precautions are key to preventing injuries and deaths. Recklessly bypassing safety measures puts you and your passengers at risk if anything happens, like the boat capsizing in unexpectedly rough weather.
Tips for staying safe on a recreational boat
- Be aware of what the weather forecast says before heading out on the water.
- Follow all the boating safety regulations. The TPWD reminds boaters that, “In order to operate a personal watercraft or a boat with a 15-horsepower rating or more, anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1993, must complete a boater education course.”
- Know how to swim.
- Check the boat and your equipment before making a trip.
- You and your passengers should wear life jackets.
Even of you take precautions, accidents can occur when you are boating. If you believe that someone else was at fault, you may want to know if you have legal recourse.