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June 22, 2021

BOATING ESSENTIALS FOR THE WATER

Hardee, Massey & Blodgett reminds everyone heading onto the water this summer to take the proper precautions to keep you and your family safe. It is always fun to have things like water skis, tubes, and kneeboards on your boat, there are some boating essentials needed to keep you and your passengers safe.

LIFE JACKETS

It is imperative to select the right style life jacket for your boating activities. Make sure you read the label for the life vest’s intended use, size and other important information. You should always have at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket per passenger on board, along with two extra jackets.

THROWABLE FLOTATION AIDS

A throwable device must be available for the operator of the boat to throw in case a person should go overboard. This aid is designed to be thrown to a person in the water so they can hold onto it until they are rescued. This throwable aid is not designed to be worn. Throwable devices include ring buoys, buoyant cushions and horseshoe buoys. Most throwables do not include line, so make sure you have several feet of floating line for each throwable incase the rescuer needs to assist a victim in the water. Make sure you read the label and ensure your flotation device is U.S Coast Guard approved.

VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS

U.S. Coast Guard approved flares, orange signal flags, day signals, and electric distress lights are an essential part of boater safety. You should always check the condition of these devices before you leave on your boating trip.

SOUND PRODUCING DEVICES

These include a whistle, horn, or bell audible for one-half mile. In an event where visibility becomes an issue, a sound producing device such as these are essential. Horns, whistles and bells must be easily accessible to all the passengers onboard. One suggestion is to attach a whistle to each life vest onboard.

ENGINE CUT-OFF DEVICE

Many boating accidents involve operators or passengers who fall overboard. Wearing an engine cut-off switch or wireless engine cut-off device will automatically shut the engine off if the operator falls overboard or is ejected from their seat. This could prevent someone from being run over by their own boat. An out of control, unmanned boat could circle ejected passengers and possibly run them over resulting in severe injury or death if struck by the propeller. Wearing an engine cut-off device will make it easier to reboard the boat and reduce the risk of a propeller injury.

EMERGENCY LOCATOR DEVICE

These devices are used to alert search and rescue services. Two of the most common include an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). An EPIRB is for one’s boat and registered to the vessel, while a PLB is registered to the person.

EMERGENCY BOATING KIT

Even a most well-maintained boat can have unexpected trouble on the water. Because of this it is recommended that you have an Emergency Boating Kit onboard. Most boat and outdoor stores have different types of emergency boating kits available for sale.

DRINKING WATER

Last but not least, stay hydrated. Since boating typically takes place during hot, summer months, it is vital to make sure you have ample water for yourself and all passengers onboard.

One final suggestion is to take a boating course. These can be found by state on the NASBLA website.

 

May 24, 2021

WEARING A LIFE JACKET IS KEY

Did you know that there are more than 11 million recreational vessels are registered in the U.S.? That means more and more Americans are enjoying their time in and on the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating incidents that resulted in 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and about $46 million in property damage in 2017. It is important that you are prepared and using the correct equipment, no matter what type of vessel you are using – driving or riding in a motorized boat or  paddling a canoe or kayak – and making sure you have the right life jacket is essential.

Whether you are in a motorized boat or a kayak, a life jacket is at the core of safe boating. It is reported by the U.S. Coast Guard that in 2017 76% of boating deaths were due to drowning, and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Most know that the regulations on life jacket use vary from state to state. The National Safe Boating Council’s “Wear It” program encourages all boaters to wear a life jacket any time they are on motorized or non-motorized boat.

Even if you are a good swimmer, you need a life jacket. When someone falls off a boat, they could  become unconscious, disoriented or injured, and the life jacket will keep their heads above water so they can breathe and more easily be rescued. Every child should be wearing a life jacket at all times when they are boating. Finally, no matter your age or boating experience level, the data shows that life jackets do save lives. Accidents happen to quickly to be reaching for a stowed vest, you should always have one on.

Make sure you choose the right life jacket for the activities you will be doing on the water. You should double check the life jackets to make sure they are U.S. Coast Guard approved and fit correctly:

  • Make sure the life jacket is the appropriate size for your weight and size.
  • Make sure you’ve properly fastened the jacket.
  • Put your arms straight over your head, ask someone to grab the tops of the arms and gently pull up; you should make sure there is no extra room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your face or your chin.

National Safe Boating Week is May 22-28, 2021. Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP encourages all boaters to always wear a life jacket while they are on the water.

July 14, 2020

SUMMER’S HERE, BOAT SAFETY TIME

Spending a warm summer day on the boat is a great way to enjoy North Carolina’s waterways. However, not following safety guidelines and regulations can result in a serious injury or drowning. Before you jump in the boat and head out on the water, Hardee, Massey & Blodgett would like to remind you of some important rules that you should be following:

Life jackets are meant to be worn

Properly sized and fitted life jackets should be worn by everyone on your boat. When searching for life jackets, look for lightweight, comfortable styles that have the seal of approval from the United States Coast Guard (USCG.) If you are using life jackets from last year, make sure you test it to ensure that it is still buoyant and fits appropriately, especially for children. Non-swimmers and kids need life jackets that keep their heads above water. In a report from the USCG, it was noted that 84% of all boat fatalities in 2017 a victim was not wearing a life vest. 

Take a boater’s safety course 

Whether you’re new to boating or have been boating for years, the National Safety Council recommends boaters enroll in a safety course presented by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. In a boating safety class, you will learn the rules of safe boating as well as laws governing North Carolina’s waterways. 

Avoid alcohol on the water

Drinking and driving a boat is no different than driving a car, it can be very dangerous. And, more than half of all boating accidents involve consuming alcohol according to the Boat U.S. Foundation. In the state of North Carolina, a boater who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs can receive fines starting at $250 and up to 60 days in jail. 

Remember to pack layers 

Before you head out remember this, you should have extra dry clothes for each person on the boat, so pack extra clothing. If someone should become submerged during a boating accident, there is a risk for hypothermia especially during colder weather. It’s important to prepare and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. And, the layer of clothing that is closest to your skin should be a piece of clothing that will wick moisture away from the body, this will keep you warm when the temperatures are cold.

Shield yourself from the sun 

Wearing sunscreen is important anytime you are outdoors, it is especially important to wear when you are boating. Being on the water you may feel cool, but the sun is strong. Choose a formula of at least SPF 50 and remember to reapply every few hours, and more on children. You should also wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing along with a wide-brimmed hat. 

We hope you have a great summer and if you have a chance to enjoy being on the water, take it! But remember, if you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP are available for a free consultation, 24/7 to review the details of your case.