South Carolina is a wonderful vacation spot, especially for those who enjoy boating. You might bring your own powerboat or rent a sailboat. You may be an experienced boater or someone who is just learning the ropes. What you want is to enjoy a day on the water, and what you need to avoid, at all costs, is a tragedy.
There are four main causes of boating accidents, and one of them is responsible for most of the boating fatalities on record.
1. Unpredictable weather
You should never venture out on a boating excursion without first checking the forecast. Morning may bring sunshine and clear skies, but a beautiful day can quickly be overcome by threatening weather. If you and your family started out on a sunny morning, you could suddenly face high winds and very choppy waters shortly after lunch. Keep calm and do not make any hasty decisions. Check your safety equipment and make a sensible plan for reaching your destination.
2. Equipment failure
You are probably very familiar with the safety equipment on any boat you own, but if you are renting, you should bring this subject up with the owner before you take the vessel out. Equipment failure while you are out on the water could be disastrous and a potential cause of injury or death. In the event of a boating accident, maritime laws apply and the owner of the boat can be held accountable through subsequent legal action.
3. Excessive speed
You have probably seen boats plying the waters of a lake at high speed. This presents a danger to other boats, water skiers and people who are enjoying their personal watercraft. As the operator of a boat or jet ski, remember that speeding can reduce your awareness of stationary objects such as sandbars or buoys as well as the proximity of other boaters, swimmers and divers.
While bad weather, equipment failure and speed are major causes of boating accidents, alcohol consumption is responsible for more than half of all boating fatalities. Whether on land or water, the rules for drinking and driving are the same: Your blood alcohol content cannot exceed 0.08 percent, and you cannot even be slightly inebriated or you endanger yourself and others.
Operating a boat comes with its own set of responsibilities. An enjoyable day on the water involves being alert, having a clear head and making all the proper safety and weather checks before pulling away from the dock.