It’s National Safe Boating Week!
How to Stay Safe on the Water This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is a time to celebrate and honor those who have served our country. But to many, it is also a time to enjoy the warm weather and have fun on the water! But before you hop on your boat or dive into the waves, make sure you are prepared for the risks that come with water activities.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), boating accidents are more likely to happen during this weekend than any other time of the year. In 2022, the USCG reported over 4,000 accidents, resulting in 2,222 injuries and 636 deaths. Most of these deaths occurred in May, June, and July.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent drowning is to wear a life jacket. Out of the 636 fatalities, 75% were caused by drowning. In 85% of drownings, the person was not wearing a life jacket. A life jacket can save your life if you fall overboard, get knocked unconscious, or get caught in a rip current.

But not any life jacket will do– make sure it fits properly and is appropriate for your activity. You should also put it on before you get on the water, not when you are already in trouble. Putting on a life jacket is very difficult when panicking or struggling in the water! A loose-fitting life jacket can also slip off, or trap air and make you sink.

Another important safety tip is to avoid drinking alcohol while boating. Alcohol can impair your judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can also increase your risk of dehydration and hypothermia. Alcohol was a leading factor in 16% of boating accidents in 2022. If you are caught operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, you could face serious legal consequences such as a DUI or DWI.

It is also highly recommended to have a reliable way to communicate with others in case of an emergency. A cell phone may not work well in remote areas or offshore. The USCG recommends having a long-range communication device such as a 406 Mhz EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) on board. This device can send a distress signal to search and rescue authorities if you are in danger.

Finally, if you are planning to swim in large bodies of water such as lakes or oceans, be aware of rip currents. These are powerful currents that can pull you away from the shore and into deeper water. They can be hard to spot, and can occur at any time. If you are caught in a rip current, don’t panic or try to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.

By following these safety tips, you can have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend on the water. Remember to respect the water, and be prepared for any situation. Happy boating! 🚤


We at the Herd Law Firm are proud to fight for maritime workers and passengers in all types of personal injury claims, and never waver in our commitment to help these maritime workers and their families when they are injured.

Charles Herd is a Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife-certified Boater Safety Instructor as well!


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If you or someone that you know has contracted COVID-19 while on board a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. If so, call the law offices of the Herd Law Firm, PLLC for a risk-free evaluation of your potential case.

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