Though the following tips for a safe boating excursion come from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, they apply just as well to boat enthusiasts in the Pittsburgh area:
- Inspect your boat for wear and tear before taking it out on the water.
- Have enough life jackets for everybody on board, including the adults. Life jackets are lighter and less bulky than they used to be.
- Make sure you have a designated sober boat operator.
- Reduce your speed in rough water and areas with poor visibility, and keep an eye out for changing water conditions.
- Pilot the boat defensively, and allow plenty of space between you and other boats.
Being careful, alert and courteous on the water will significantly reduce your chances of getting hurt in a collision, but you cannot control what other people are doing. Just like on the road, a drunk, distracted or otherwise negligent boater can seriously harm innocent people. Those injuries can take a long time to heal, or they can cause permanent disability.
Boaters who fail to live up to their duty to others on the water must be held accountable for their actions. One way for victims to get justice is to file a personal injury claim with the help of their attorney.