Boating alone can be a great way to unwind after a long day, but it can also be dangerous. Having another person on your boat means you have someone who can help out in the event of an emergency, whether it’s a sudden storm, a medical event, or even an unexpected fall into the water without a life jacket.
Although you should always boat with at least one additional person on board, that’s not always possible—and sometimes, the call of the open water is too strong to resist! If you decide to head out solo for some angling or just to take in the fresh air, keep these tips in mind to reduce your risks.
Tell others about your plans.
Before you even leave home, be sure to tell others about your plans for the day, including the body of water you’ll be on and how long you plan on being gone. Sharing this information can be extremely important if anything goes wrong on the water, especially if your boat breaks down and you’re unable to paddle to shore or flag down other boaters for help.
Stock your boat with emergency supplies.
Before heading out on the water, ensure that your boat has supplies you’ll need in the event of an emergency. These supplies include an oar, a cell phone (or radio if there’s no cell service on the water), and a device for signaling for help, such as a flag, flare, or flashing light.
Know how to launch and re-trailer your boat alone.
Using a boat ramp can be tricky even when you have a spotter and someone who can launch your boat while you park your vehicle. But going it alone can be even more difficult. When using a boat ramp by yourself, it helps to be familiar and experienced with both the process and the particular boat ramp you’re using.
Launching your boat alone takes more time than doing it with a spotter, as you’ll need to tie off your boat after getting it in the water and then park your vehicle. Re-trailering your boat involves the same process in reverse—tying off your boat, backing your trailer into the water, driving your boat onto your trailer, securing it, and then exiting the boat ramp.
If you need help and other boaters are nearby, ask for it! Even something as simple as being waved into the water can make your boat launch faster, easier, and safer.
Wear a lifejacket the entire time you’re on your boat.
As soon as you get on your boat, put on a lifejacket and keep it on until you’re back on land. When you’re boating solo, your throwable flotation device won’t do you any good, as there’s no way to retrieve it when you’re in the water. Because of that, it’s important to have a lifejacket at all times. This step could save your life if your boat capsizes, sinks, or you fall into the water for any reason.
Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, summer or winter, it’s important to wear sunscreen when you’re on your boat. When boating alone, you may not realize that you’re becoming sunburned until long after the damage is already done.
Severe sunburn can put your health and even your life at risk when you’re on the water alone, as you can quickly become dangerously dehydrated and disoriented. Wearing and regularly reapplying sunscreen can help you avoid a severe burn and result in one less thing to worry about while you’re relaxing on the water.
Boating while intoxicated is illegal in Oklahoma, and the criteria for it are the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. If your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher, you’re impaired and can be cited and arrested.
Being drunk on the water is even more dangerous when you’re boating solo. You may be unable to safely drive your boat, and you may even get lost on the water depending on your level of intoxication.
When Innocent Boaters Get Hurt on the Water, We’re Here to Help.
Boating alone brings many risks even if you steer clear of other watercraft throughout the day. But the risks of boating by yourself are amplified when you’re involved in a collision or incident with a negligent boater. If your boat capsizes or you’re thrown overboard, your life may be at risk, especially if you’re knocked unconscious, disabled by your injuries, or simply struggle to get back in your boat.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma City boat accident attorneys help all boaters who were hurt by negligence, whether they were enjoying a day on the water with friends or family, or basking in the solitude of a solo fishing trip.
Contact us today for a free consultation if you or someone you love was hurt while boating. We’ll fight to get you maximum compensation.