With around 13 million vessels registered in the United States, Michigan is usually ranked in the top three, with just over one million registered boat owners in Michigan, using the waterways.
Boating brings fun and adventure on the waters, but with this fabulous activity comes boat safety hazards. And although many issues can be easily taken care of with a Michigan safety checklist to be followed before each trip, some accidents occur due to weather conditions on the water or the boat owner’s error.
The most common boating accidents happen due to negligence or carelessness (for example, the boat plug missing or unsecured, excessive speed, bilge pump inoperable, alcohol or drug use, weather conditions, and large waves or wakes that can cause a boat to capsize or list.
A capsizing or boating listing caused by the off-centerline distribution of weight aboard can be due to uneven loading or to flooding. This leads to a complete loss of control for those in the boat, and usually means being thrown into the water. These two hazards can be a nightmare for the boat passengers. To avoid capsizing or listing, the boat operator must take the following boat safety measures:
Make sure boat plug is screwed in before placing boat in water.
Never overload your boat with people or cargo.
Prohibit passengers from all riding on one side of the boat, such as the bow, sides of the boat, or other areas where weight is concentrated.
Make sure to distribute weight or balance boat weight evenly.
Avoiding speeding when making turns.
If you find yourself in a sinking boat situation, there are several important safety survival steps to take:
Use a life vest.
If you are in the water, grab onto a flotation device if you are wearing a life vest.
Boat owner should do a headcount and try to account for all passengers, as well as provide life vest if possible.
If the boat is floating and stable to climb back onto the boat, or if not, try to hold onto the boat for safety, if safe to do so.
With life vest on, concentrate on treading water or float using your life jacket.
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