What You Can Do to Stay Safe During National Safe Boating Week

Whether you are rafting down the Mississippi like Huck Finn, or checking on the situation at Arkabutla Lake this summer, water-related accidents and injuries can be a real pain in the boat. 

National Safe Boating Week, which casts off on May 20th, is a great reminder that many water-based accidents and injuries can a-pier-antly be avoided by brushing up on boating safety skills. Even seasoned boaters in Shelby County, Tennessee and Desoto, Marshall, Tunica, or Tate counties in Mississippi can benefit from checking out the tips below. 

Tips for Smooth Sailing 

The National Safe Boating Council recommends these tips for boaters:

  • Take a boating safety course. Gain valuable knowledge and on-water experience in a boating safety course with many options for novice to experienced boaters.
  • Check equipment. Schedule a free vessel safety check with the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working, and in good condition.
  • Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment on board before you leave the dock.
  • Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket – every time. A stowed life jacket is of no use in an emergency.
  • Use an engine cut-off switch – it’s the law. An engine cut-off switch is a proven safety device to stop a powerboat engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
  • Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during the excursion.
  • Know what’s going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2021 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  • Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area and local boating speed zones, and always travel at a safe speed.
  • Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities. Always designate a sober skipper.
  • Keep in touch. Have more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can all be important devices in an emergency.

Ship Happens When You Don’t Put Safety First

Many of these tips are just common sense, but you would be surprised how many people in Shelby County, Tennessee and Desoto, Marshall, Tunica, and Tate counties in Mississippi are injured in boating accidents each year. 

The limited recreational boating accident data available from the U.S. Coast Guard shows that around 20-30 boating accidents occur each year in Mississippi, while Tennessee sees 90-150 accidents. About a third of these accidents are fatal. 

The Lawyers That Listen

If you are involved in a boating accident this summer, the Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman team is here for you. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have won millions of dollars for people in Shelby County, Tennessee and Desoto, Marshall, Tunica, or Tate counties in Mississippi. We are ready to hear your story and help you get the compensation you deserve. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. 

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.