Rain or shine, boating can prove to be a thrilling and memorable activity — especially on the many waterside destinations that surround New York. Bringing the whole family along on these recreational outings is another added bonus; however, there are certain safety practices one can keep in mind to ensure the trip on the water is a successful one.
As with any outdoor sport or activity, there come the expected risks. Newsday shared last summer that, in 2016 alone, there were 22 deaths in New York that occurred from various recreational boating accidents. That number rose from the 16 deaths that occurred in 2015. Officials fear that the number of fatal accidents will continue to rise, but are hopeful that the raising awareness to the statistic will help prevent future mishaps. A stronger economy and lower gas prices in recent years are two reasons boating has become so popular. When it comes to the accidents themselves, alcohol and lack of safety gear are largely to blame. Yet one factor that the state has recently focused on is that of boating licenses. Because some of the state’s past accidents involved unauthorized drivers (many of whom were underage), a 2014 law requires all 18-year-olds to complete a motorboat operating course.
Although it may be impossible to rule out all possible boating dangers, The National Safety Council reminds the public that small steps toward boating safety can make the difference between an enjoyable day out and a disaster. Life jackets may seem a nuisance, but the NSC highlights the U.S. Coast Guard’s report that 78 percent of boating deaths in 2014 were due to drowning — and 84 percent of those victims had not been wearing a life vest. Boaters can also find education and training through the National Safe Boating Council, which provides further information on wise boating safety practices.