With an Uptick in Maryland Boating Accidents Over the Holidays: Mind Your Safety.
Top Holidays for Boating Accidents
You can rest assured that boat collisions are rare in Maryland from Thanksgiving through to Christmas and the New Year. Still, for those who travel south during the colder months, it is important to keep in mind that the risks of accidents exist for almost any holiday. In this part of the US, the main concerns include:
- Memorial Day: The dangers extend beyond the actual weekend, starting the Wednesday before and continuing through to the Tuesday following the observed date.
- Fourth of July: The statistics above illustrate the problem, but note that they can fluctuate based upon what day of the week the holiday falls.
- Fishing Season: You might not realize it if you are not a dedicated angler, but even the opening day for fishing various species can increase the potential for boating accidents. For instance, waterways like Deep Creek Lake are popular among those fishing for walleye starting April 15.
Risks of Boating Accidents Around Holidays
It is probably not a surprise to learn that alcohol is a factor in many fatal and injury-causing boat collisions during summer holidays. People are in a festive mood, often getting together with friends and family they do not get to see often. The fun times and jovial spirit inspire some to tip back a few too many. Intoxication affects a boater in the same way as the driver of a car, impairing physical and mental abilities. Boat crashes are also more frequent around the holidays because;
- There is an increase in boat traffic;
- More individuals are packing onto a single boat, at times illegally;
- People check cell phones while operating the watercraft;
Labor Day in particular is a risky time for boating for two key reasons:
- Labor Day is the traditional end of summer, when kids head back to school, there is less time to be out on the water, and the weather turns cooler. Those who love boating want to seize this last opportunity.
- By September, the days are getting shorter and night falls earlier. For those not used to operating a watercraft in dark conditions, navigation can be a challenge.
Safety Tips for Avoiding Boat Crashes
According to Maryland Natural Resources Police, many fatalities in any given year could have been prevented had the victim been wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). Officials point out that there must be at least one wearable PFD per person, and it is wise to carry a throwable on board. In addition they recommend the following;
- Never operate a boat after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs.
- Consider taking a boater’s safety course, which is required for anyone born after July 1, 1972.
- Do not operate a vessel while distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or surfing the internet.
- Make sure to comply with US Coast Guard rules on fire extinguishers.
- Use a GPS for navigation, as these solutions have navigational aids built in and will tell you how to avoid hazards. However, see the above rule about not operating a boat while distracted.
- Prepare a float plan that outlines your intended trip, and leave it with a trusted friend who can alert authorities if you do not return.
What to Do if You Were Hurt
The legal process for victims of boating accidents is very similar to if you were injured in a traffic crash because boaters typically carry liability insurance. What you do after a boating accident impacts your rights in the legal process, so it is important to follow a few To-Dos:
- Get medical care right away.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with all affected boaters.
- If possible, take pictures of the damage to all involved vessels, your injuries, and relevant details from the scene.
- Other than confirming your contact information, do not provide a statement or answer questions if an insurance company calls. Let your lawyer handle this conversation.
Contact a Maryland Boating Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Legal Options
These tips should be useful in the immediate aftermath of a boat crash, but may not be specific enough to your unique situation. Therefore, we recommend you call us to discuss your accident so that can develop a legal strategy uniquely tailored to your specific situation, aimed at recovering the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your rights and remedies, please don’t hesitate to give us call.