Avoiding Lake Havasu Boating Accidents
Lake Havasu experienced its deadliest summer on record in 2017. Boating accidents, accidental drownings, and other incidents on the water have claimed lives and left many others seriously injured on Lake Havasu on the Arizona-California border. The vast majority of these accidents would be preventable with due care from boaters and swimmers. Follow a few safety tips to avoid accidents if you plan to take a boat out on the lake this summer. Your safety and that of other boaters is in your hands.
Obey Arizona’s Lake Laws
The prevalence of serious accidents on Lake Havasu has led authorities to create laws and regulations that preside over the lake. When taking your boat out, you must follow these rules or face fines and penalties. You could also face civil liability for an accident if you break one of the lake’s rules. Lake Havasu City governs the lake, as does the Arizona Game & Fish Commission, the State of Arizona (Title 5 of the Revised Statutes), and the U.S. Coast Guard. The following are laws boaters must obey while on Lake Havasu:
- Boater requirements. You must be over the age of 12 to operate a boat in Arizona (16 in California). Boaters must not negligently, dangerously, or recklessly operate the watercraft. Boaters cannot operate watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Speed limits and rights of way. Boaters must control their speeds according to waterway signs at all times. They must operate boats within safe speed limits to avoid collisions and property damage, as well as to avoid creating unnecessary wake. Boaters must stay to the right of the lake and not interfere with proper use of waterways.
- Safe boat operation rules. While operating a watercraft, passengers cannot ride in the deck over the bow, transom, or gunwales while the boat is in motion. Operators cannot load boats down with cargo or passengers beyond what is safe. Boaters must use due care while overtaking other boats on the lake, maintaining course and speed.
Abiding by the laws while on Lake Havasu can help prevent accidents by keeping your actions safe and predictable for others on the lake. Always double-check the laws and rules of the lake before you take the helm. If everyone obeys lake laws, accident statistics would be far lower. Negligent, distracted, drunk, and rule-breaking operators cause accidents. Obeying the law an easy way to fulfill your duties as a boater and to ensure a safe, fun time for all.
Take a Boat Safety Course
Whether you’re a novice boater or a seasoned expert, taking a boat safety course can freshen up your knowledge and help you boat more safely. The Arizona Game & Fish Department offers a boating education course you can take online. It reintroduces basic skills, navigational rules, legal requirements, what to do in a boating emergency, and more. A safety course can reduce your risk of accidents while on the lake and potentially get you lower rates on your insurance.
Maintain Your Vessel and Safety Gear
Aside from boater negligence, improper maintenance of watercraft is another common cause of boating accidents on Lake Havasu. Being a prudent boater involves taking care of your vessel. It is your duty as an owner to inspect your boat, make repairs, and maintain all safety equipment regularly. Issues with boating components such as the engine or propellers could contribute to a collision.
Keep all the required safety gear on your boat as well, including personal flotation devices for everyone on board, a throwable personal flotation device, fire extinguisher, navigation lights, blower, flame arrestor, a horn, and visual distress signals. These elements can help you signal for help in the event of a boating accident or other emergency.
If your boating accident was caused by the negligence of another person, contact a Phoenix injury attorney at Knapp & Roberts to see how you can hold that person accountable.
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