B.E.S.A.F.E While Boating!

Speedboat cruises safely across the surface of a lake on a sunny day.

Boating Safety

While the summer is beginning to come to a close, there are still plenty of weekends left to pack in those summer activities! When I think of summer, I think of freshly cut grass, hot dogs charred black on my rusty, old Weber grill, ripe watermelon for dessert, and of course, water.  Whether it’s the sprinkler system, my plastic inflatable pool in the backyard, the emerald Florida shores, or the cool Cumberland Lake, when it gets hot, Americans in almost every state head for the water. And with water, comes boats.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 75 million Americans (that’s 32% of all American adults!) go boating during the summer months. However, whether you’re floating on a pontoon, racing in a speeder, or paddling in a canoe, it’s important to remember that boating involves the operation of a vehicle, in some cases a motor vehicle and that with the operation of such vehicles comes inherent dangers. That’s why it is so important to follow the American Boating Association Guidelines to B.E. S.A.F.E.[1] and know your Boat, Equipment, Safety devices, Alcohol limits, First Aid, and Environment every time you go out on the water.

Main Causes of Boating Accidents

In 2020, The American Boating Association reported that there were over 5,000 boating accidents, involving over 3,000 injuries and over 700 fatalities. The Coast Guard estimated that these accidents amounted to a total of approximately $62.5 million dollars of property damage in that year alone![2] These accidents are far more statistically probable in the summer months, due to the influx of over-heated enthusiasts and vacationers looking to cool off in the water. The American Boating Association attributes a majority of these accidents to the following Top Ten Known Primary Contributing Factors:

  1. Operator Inattention
  2. Operator Inexperience
  3. Improper Lookout
  4. Excessive Speed
  5. Machinery Failure
  6. Navigation Rules Violation
  7. Alcohol Use
  8. Weather
  9. Hazardous Waters
  10. Force of wave/wake[3]

How to Prevent Boating Accidents

So, what’s the best way to prevent these accidents and stay safe on the wake? Remembering these safety tips from the American Boating Association Safety Program is a great place to start:

  1. Perform a precursory inspection of your boat, boating equipment, and safety devices before you go out on the water;
  2. Know your alcohol limits and remember to abide by applicable laws regarding Driving Under the Influence;
  3. Go over first aid and emergency procedures with your fellow boaters, and finally
  4. Check the weather and other environmental factors before you head out for a day of relaxation and fun! [4]

The Becker Law Office and its team want everyone to enjoy and celebrate this summer and BE SAFE while out on the water!  Head to the American Boating Association’s website for more information and safety tips: americanboating.org.


[1] Id.

[2] National Marine Manufacturers Association, https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nmma.org%2Fassets%2Fcabinets%2FCabinet462%2FBrief%2520-%2520Boating%2520Facts%2520%26%2520Demographics.docx%23%3A~%3Atext%3DThere%2520are%2520a%2520total%2520of%252017%2520million%2520recreational%2Cmillion%2520adults%25E2%2580%2594or%252032%2520percent%2520of%2520all%2520adults%25E2%2580%2594went%2520boating.&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK, (last visited July 2022)

[3] American Boating Association, Executive Summary, https://uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2020.pdf, (lasted visited July 2022)

[4] Id.