Boating on North Carolina's rivers, lakes, and shores can be relaxing and enjoyable fun for the whole family - but far too often, these recreational boating trips end in a boat accident injury. No matter how much fun you are having on North Carolina waters, never forgot to keep your family safe and aware. Below are some general boating safety tips that will help you and your family prevent North Carolina boating accident injuries.
- Having life jackets is the law. You must carry on board at least one life vest per person - and children are required to wear them. Just having them isn't often enough. Make sure that your life jackets fit securely and work well. Check for punctures in the life jackets' liners often.
- Make sure you have working boat lights - whether or not you plan to be boating at night. If you have battery-operated lights, carry extra batteries with you. It is important that other vessels can see your boat to prevent collisions, and that if you boat becomes lost, other rescue vessels can locate you.
- Always tell someone else when you are leaving on your boat and when you plan to return.
- Never, ever drink and operate your boat. Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (drunken boating) is the cause of a number of preventable boating accidents and fatalities.
- Boating fatigue is also the cause of a number of accidents - many boaters underestimate the effect of the sun, wind, and noise associated with boating. Long exposure to these elements can lead to dangerous boater fatigue.
- A full half of all boating accidents occur when a boat is borrowed from a well-meaning friend. If lending out your boat, make sure your friend knows the vessel well. If borrowing a boat, don't leave the shore unless you are confident you know the boat. Also be sure that the correct number of life jackets are aboard in case of a borrowed boating accident.