RMD Law’s 5 Boat Safety Tips That Just Might Save Your Life This Summer

It’s pretty hot in Irvine today. I know I enjoyed that California sunshine on my lunch break (Irvine Ranch Market, nicely done guys).

With warmer weather comes boating season. Those of you in Newport Beach and surrounding communities might be thinking about hitting the ocean, while those of you living further inland might be going to Lake Havasu.

Whether you’ll be out on saltwater sailing or freshwater for a float, the motto is safety first. Here are RMD Law’s tips to staying safe out there:

With four engines that can generate up to 23,172HP, the Black Swan Superyacht can injure a lot of folks in a short period of time. That doesn’t mean John and Aria don’t want to buy it. Of course, Nicole says it looks like a “raised truck for billionaires”… Different strokes for different folks I guess.

1. Check the weather forecast

Be aware of the day’s weather and change your plans if a storm is in the forecast. If you are swimming, fishing or boating and there are clouds, dark skies and distant rumbles of thunder or flashes of lightning, get to land immediately and seek shelter. If you are in a boat and cannot get to shore, crouch down in the middle of the boat. Go below if possible. Anyhow, who wants to be cold on the water? It’s best to wait for a sunny day and enjoy a six pack in the sun.

2. Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

I was only kidding about the six pack. That’s a rookie mistake, especially if you are driving the boat. Remember, there IS such a thing as Boating Under the Influence (see California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655). The law here is similar to cars: If you have a .08 BAC or higher, you can be prosecuted criminally. If you cause an accident, you can also be held liable in civil court. Keep your wits about you. A sudden change in conditions might require your full attention, and alcohol impairs your ability to respond.

3. Propellor danger!

There is extreme danger of personal injury and wrongful death posed by the prop. A three-blade propeller running at 3,200 rpm can inflict 160 impacts in one second. A typical recreational propeller can travel from head to toe on an average person in less than one tenth of a second.

The captain of the boat is in command and must take responsibility for the safety of people in and around the boat.

The person operating the boat should wear their engine cut-off switch lanyard and their life jacket at ALL times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will shut off. It’s also a great idea to assign a passenger to keep watch around the propeller area of your boat. You owe a duty of care in California law to everyone around you. That includes people in the boat, and definitely includes people in the water around your craft. Never assume that your path is clear. Maintain full attention and control to avoid hurting anyone.

4. Do not overload your boat

Be sure you know the craft’s maximum capacity for both people and weight, and don’t carry more. If you overload your boat, you can expect trouble with the Coast Guard and other authorities. Don’t get boarded this summer.

5. Check your safety gear and report any accidents to the authorities.

Make sure your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough on board for all potential passengers (we can all learn from Titanic). The US Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating fatalities could have been prevented by proper life jacket use, so it’s a good idea to wear one no matter your level of experience and age. Be sure onboard fire extinguishers are the correct class and are fully charged.

You are REQUIRED by federal and state law to report any boating accident in which:

  • A person dies
  • A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
  • A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more; or the boat is destroyed

And of course, if you have been injured in a boat accident, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney about your rights before talking to the insurance companies. Happy boating!

It should be noted that the Black Swan has a stern-positioned fadeaway pool deck and a helipad. This is James Bond Villain status. Don’t fight the Swan Nicole.

Aria Miran
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