Every year, as the weather warms up, Columbia residents and visitors flock to the water. Many people escape the Columbia heat by spending the summer on the water – boating, jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, and much more. While our team also enjoys lake days and water activities, we’ve also seen firsthand how quickly these leisurely activities can become dangerous.

In this article, our reputable Columbia personal injury attorneys share boat safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe this summer. While we all want to keep these activities fun and relaxing, it’s important to remember that accidents do happen and it’s best to be prepared. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today.

Columbia Boating Safety Tips

Based on decades of combined experience handling Columbia injury cases, including boating accidents, our team compiled a list of safety tips to follow while on the water in Columbia and beyond.

1. Wear a Life Jacket

In South Carolina, all boats must have a US Coast Guard approved PFD for each person on board or being towed. Failing to wear a lifejacket or PFD is one of the leading causes of boating-related incidents and fatalities.

2. Boat Sober

The wind, noise, sun, and movements of a boat can impair balance and concentration on its own. When you pair those natural elements with alcohol or drug use, you are risking significant impairment in coordination, judgment, and reaction time

3. Wear the Engine Cut-Off Safety Lanyard 

South Carolina law requires boat operators to wear safety lanyards, designed to stop a boat’s engine should the operator be thrown from the helm. 

4. Check the Weather

Before heading out for the water, it’s important to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. 

5. Practice Safe Boating

Recreational boaters should always practice safe boating to help limit risk of accident and significant injury. Take a boating safety course, put your cell phone down and focus on the water, know the signs of CO exposure, and let friends and family know where you plan to go and how long you plan to be out for.

6. Be Prepared

On the water, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. While it may seem unnecessary, consider packing a flashlight, throwable flotation devices, VHF radios, water, first aid kit, and other safety tools.

7. Stay Alert

Much like on the roads, operator distraction is a leading cause of boat accidents. Operators must stay alert, pay close attention to their surroundings, and prop erly respond to the environment. If possible, designate an additional “lookout” person who is also on the lookout for any threats or hazards.

8. Follow Speed and Navigation Rules

Excessive speeding is extremely dangerous on the water and failure to adhere to speed limits can cause collisions, rollovers, and other dangerous incidents.

South Carolina Boating Accident Statistics

According to most recently available data, there were 722 recreational boating accidents in South Carolina alone from 2015-2019.

In 2022, there were 22 recreational boating fatalities in SC compared to 15 fatalities in 2018.

In 2022, South Carolina had a reported total of 170 boating accidents, an increase of 28 from 2018. 

Columbia Boat Accident Lawyers: Get a Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one has been injured or worse due to a boating or related accident, we’re here for you. Our team has the experience and resources needed to prove liability, ensuring you and your loved ones get the compensation you deserve under SC law. For a free case evaluation, simply call our Columbia personal injury office at (803) 888-2200 or contact us online

Disclaimer: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.