Boating Safety

January 4, 2012

We are all aware of the beauty our coastline offers, and taking it in with a cruise around the harbor can be one of the most relaxing ways to appreciate the scenery. However it can also be one of the most dangerous. With boating accidents on the rise in San Diego, here are some things to remember to stay safe on and around water.

Maintain a safe speed, for your safety as well as those around you

Two accidents this weekend strike some major concern and remind us tragic accidents can take place. On Monday afternoon, a father and son were racing each other in Mission Bay. The father was unaware that the sons boat had slowed down. The father's 25 foot boat rear-ended the son's 18 foot boat, striking the son. The boats went out of control and crash landed on the beach.

The son suffered severe head and neck injuries. The lifeguards reported had this happened the day before, the tragedy could have been even greater. The beach was crowded with hundreds of people, whereas at the time of this accident it was rather empty. According to Lt. Andy Lerum, of the San Diego lifeguards, speeding is one of the most common violations on Mission Bay.

Always wear a properly fitting life jacket

Even if you are a strong swimmer, it is advised to wear a properly fitted life jacket at all times. The lack of a life jacket was the cause of a tubing accident on Mission Bay which killed a San Diego man. Twenty-nine year old Miguel Santiago was being pulled behind a boat while riding on an inner-tube Sunday evening. Mr. Santiago disappeared underwater and was not discovered until 10 minutes later. He was taken to the hospital where he died shortly thereafter. It is suspected that the he was pulled underwater by the tow rope which he may have become trapped in. The life jacket Mr. Santiago had been wearing was not on him when he was discovered.

Follow all safety regulations on a boat, including weight restrictions and maintenance

The investigation in a fatal sailboat accident last spring concluded that the "vessel capsized because it was overloaded and improperly maintained and equipped". The boat had plenty of life vests on hand; however the two passengers that died in the accident were not wearing life jackets.

As in homes, carbon monoxide is emitted from boats and can harm a passenger on board without them being aware of the silent killer. It's important to have a carbon monoxide detector on board and have it working properly. Make sure all safety equipment on your vessel is working, maintained properly and used by all those on board.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, you will want to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Time is not on your side; the statute of limitations in California preclude you from pursuing a claim after the allotted time has ended.