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In the winter months, many families take vacations to warmer locales. These vacations often involve trips to the beach, water sports, and outings on boats. Boat trips can be fun for the whole family, though boats or any water-related activities also unfortunately come with the risk of drowning or near-drowning accidents. For this reason, you should always take certain precautions to keep your family safe while out on the water.

If you are involved in a boat accident caused by another party’s negligence and you or a loved one suffers an injury, you should always contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the law firm of Goldstein Hayes & Lina in Atlanta. We work diligently to help injured victims receive the best possible outcome in their case, so please call us today for a free consultation.

The following are some steps you should take to stay safe while boating:

Boating and alcohol do not mix – For many people, the idea of spending a day out on the water involves drinking alcoholic beverages. In reality, boating while intoxicated is extremely dangerous, and also against the law. In addition, intoxicated passengers are at an increased risk of accidental injury as well, even though they are not actively driving the boat.

Make sure you have proper training – Boating, much like driving a car or truck, is a learned skill. Additionally, simply because you are an experienced driver does not mean you should get behind the wheel of a powerful boat without any training. Boats handle much differently than cars, and many novice boaters get into trouble when they expect their boat to be as responsive as their land-based vehicle. As a result, it is prudent for anyone who is considering boating for the first time or after an extended hiatus to take a boating safety course appropriate to the boat they are planning to pilot.

Have appropriate life jackets — You should always ensure that there are enough life vests approved by the United States Coast Guard on board the boat for every passenger. Additionally, you should make sure that you have age-appropriate life jackets for all children on board. If your child raises his or her arms and the life jacket raises up to their chin, it is too loose or too big. If an infant is too small to fit into an approved life jacket, he or she should not ride on the boat. Furthermore, an infant should never be kept in a car seat on a boat as the seat would sink if the boat turned over.

Realize open water is different than a pool — If you or your child decide to swim off the side of a boat, you should realize that there is no easily accessible bottom or sides to grab onto as in a swimming pool. Never allow your children to swim unsupervised in open water. Also, it is always a good idea to have someone on the boat who knows CPR in case someone does have a drowning incident.

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