Michigan Boaters Shouldn’t Text and Drive
Michigan has approximately 3,288 miles of Great Lakes coastline, more than 10,000 inland lakes and ponds and a 35,000-mile web of freshwater rivers, streams, and wetlands. Rightfully so, Michigan leads the nation for registered boats being driven by plenty of people who are likely owners of smartphones and other technology that takes them away from safe driving.
With May 20–26 celebrated as National Safe Boating Week, it seems the perfect time to remind recreational boaters who bring smartphones aboard to be aware of the risk of distracted boating. Safety officials say the risk is just as dangerous as operating a motor vehicle on the road while texting.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission says that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. Those five seconds texting while operating a boat can get a captain, his passengers, and other boaters into a bad accident. Since boats can come from any direction, traveling at difference speeds, and drivers have different obstructions like the glaring sun, gusty wind, and lack of good hearing, the outcome of a boat crash is often critical for all involved.
Safe Michigan Boating
Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed rank as the top five primary contributing factors in Michigan boating accidents. In 2015, the Coast Guard counted 4,158 accidents that involved 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and approximately $42 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents across the U.S. 551 of those accidents, 58 deaths, and 353 injuries were caused by operator inattention, ranking it as the NO. 1 primary contributing factor of boating accidents in 2015. The Coast Guard speculates that cellphone use by the boat driver was likely the culprit.
Keep yourself, loved ones, guests and other passengers safe by choosing not to text and boat. In addition, make sure you are not putting yourself in a situation where you even need a cellphone handy by following these tips for safe Michigan boating.
- Wear life jackets and require all passengers to do the same.
- Check the weather forecast before you get on the water.
- Use a pre-departure checklist to make sure you have everything you may need.
- If boating alone, inform a friend or family member about your trip.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vessel. Stock it with flashlights, flares, batteries, first-aid supplies, and enough water and non-perishable food to get you through three days.
- Keep a marine fire extinguisher on board.
- Don’t drink and drive on the water. BUI (boating under the influence) is not only dangerous; it’s a crime that can be just as serious and deadly as DUI.
- Maintain a safe distance between your vessel and other watercraft, swimmers, and objects in the water.
While officials recognize that smartphones can also be an essential safety net and communication piece for Michigan boaters, they still should be used wisely.
Boating Accident Law Experts
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan boating accident law experts. We have represented boaters injured due to boating negligence for over 40 years. Let our Michigan boating accident lawyers help if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating, swimming, or watersport activity. It is our goal to answer any questions you have and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Please call Lee Free and Michigan boat accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about Michigan boating accident law and Michigan boating accidents.