The summer of 2019 has been a deadly one on Alabama's waters. As of mid-July, there had already been 25 deaths and 68 accidents. Al.com story noted here.
A number of the injuries and fatalities have involved minor children, which is simply heart wrenching. Boating under the influence, coupled with more unskilled and inexperienced boaters has turned Alabama's beautiful waterways into war zones. So, what can you do to help prevent boating accidents:
1. Don't drink and Boat! This should not have to be said, but the reality is that a number of people don't heed the warning. Boating under the influence is a crime in all 50 states. Boating is even more conducive to making one inebriated than on dry land. The vibrations, motion of water, not to mention being out in the hot sun can amplify the effects of alcohol on the body. Drunks seem to have a monopoly and free reign to make bad decisions when behind the wheel on a boat. There are boating taxi services on some waterways, but the vast majority don't have that luxury yet. To stay safe from those who may be under the influence, don't be out on the water at dusk, and stay alert at all times. Don't swim out in open water and stay close to your vessel to offer additional protection.
2. ALWAYS wear a Life Jacket. Safe boating starts with a life jacket. Be aware that you must have as many life jackets on board as boaters. Also, take special note that children cannot fit into adult life jackets. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has provided a nifty referral accompaniment here.
3. Know your State boating rules and regulations. Alabama does a nice job of providing that information to you. For a refresher, visit here.
4. Practice propeller safety. Make sure no one is around the propeller and that all are accounted for when boarding the boat from the water. Walk around the boat and pay special attention to any children in the water. Propeller guards are relatively inexpensive, and can be installed to protect against coming in contact with the boat's propeller.
5. Be safe and have fun. This is simple but so true. Just slow down and stay away from crowds. Don't be out on the water at night. As I tell my children, there are two rules that you must abide by: BE SAFE and have fun. Can't have the second without the first though.
If you have been injured as a result of a negligent boater, be aware that you have rights. Call us immediately so that we can see that your rights are protected. Call (205) 939-0780 to speak with our staff and pick a time to come in to meet and discuss your claim.