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What are common causes of boating accidents?

Boating in Georgia is not necessarily that dangerous. There are other activities that are statistically riskier. Nevertheless, when boating accidents do occur, they can be quite serious and result in injury or even death. 

While boat accidents may be relatively rare, the United States Coast Guard has observed patterns in the behaviors that cause them. If you understand the causes that may lead to boating accidents, you may be able to avoid them more easily.

1. Boating while intoxicated

Whether you are on land or in the water, alcohol affects you in similar ways by clouding judgment and slowing reflexes. Alcohol is one of the most common causes of boat accidents, and if authorities catch you boating while intoxicated, the consequences are similar in severity to what you would expect from driving while intoxicated. 

2. Ignorance or dismissal of weather reports

Severe weather can strike quickly on the water. That is why it is important to be aware of what the weather is expected to do and plan accordingly. Sometimes that means canceling a boat trip if conditions are questionable. 

3. Lack of safety equipment

In case of an emergency on the water, you should make sure you have the necessary safety equipment on the boat before you leave port: 

  • Anchor
  • Backup propulsion (e.g. canoe paddle)
  • Flares
  • Horn/lights
  • Life jackets

4. Insufficient fuel

Running out of gas on the water can be an emergency situation. Calculate the amount of fuel you need carefully, then obtain extra to give yourself a safety margin in case unforeseen circumstances should arise that force you to stay out longer or travel further than you intended. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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