On July 19, 2018, a major boating accident occurred in Branson, Missouri, which has raised awareness about boating safety. Although boating is a common recreational activity in the summer, it does pose a risk of injury. According to the United States Coast Guard, 4,291 boating incidents occurred in 2017. These accidents caused 2,629 injuries, 658 deaths, and $46 million in property damage. P

Not only is boating a popular recreational water activity in the summer months, kayaking, water skiing, and jet skiing are popular as well. Anywhere there is access to a lake or ocean in the summer, you will probably find individuals participating in recreational water activities. Even when individuals practice safety in the water, accidents can still occur. However, many individuals fail to properly plan for their day on the water, which significantly increase the risk of accidents.

In addition, the United States Coast Guard classifies factors that lead to boating accidents. Adverse weather was the eighth ranked factor that contributed to boating accidents. It is vital that individuals who are operating boats are always alert and on the lookout for adverse weather.

Individuals who are new to boating should take a boating safety course that will prepare them for the water. This includes how to safely operate a boat during extreme and changing weather conditions. The third leading cause of boating accidents in 2017 was inexperienced boat operators.

There are numerous ways to prepare for a boating trip, which includes being aware of the weather forecast and keeping an eye out for changing weather conditions. Moreover, it is necessary for boaters to stay connected to each other so that they can let each other know about weather advisories and hazardous weather. The United States Coast Guard recommends that boaters avoid the water when hazardous weather is possible to stay safe. When boat operators observe a storm on the horizon, it is imperative that they get to land or shelter immediately. It is also important to note that fog can significantly impair visibility and cause navigation problems. Any changes in weather patterns, which includes changes in temperature, changes in wind direction, low clouds, or static on a radio are warning signs that a storm could be approaching.

If recreational boaters prepare and educate themselves on boating safety, it will decrease the risk of injury due to boating accidents. In addition, it is also important to take proper safety measures at all times. This may include wearing a life vest, keeping emergency equipment on board, and understating what weather changes indicate a storm is coming.