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Tips for Night Time Boating Safety

During the difficult recent times, there are limited options for people to engage in outdoor or recreational activity.  For those who own a boat, being out on the lake may be one of the few options left. Boating at anytime of the day or year must be approached with skill and care.  However, boating at night presents its own unique challenges.

Boating at night time is not something we recommend, because of the diminished visibility as well as the fact that sudden surprises or dangers might blindside you on the water in the dark. However, many Atlanta boaters do enjoy being out on a boat after sundown. In some cases, people may find themselves inadvertently stuck out on the water well past sundown, and have to make their way back to shore.

There are safety precautions that you can follow, however, to keep yourself and everyone on your boat safe at night. For one, understand all of the safety precautions that you follow during the day also apply, and even more stringently, at night. Most importantly, you absolutely must not be operating the boat without any boating experience or without basic boat safety training.

Make sure that you have a flash light, night vision equipment as well glow sticks before you take a long boating trip that could extend after hours.  Remember that the darkness will make every challenge facing you a hundred times more difficult. Being prepared with all gear makes it more likely that you will be able to meet these changes safely.

Stay at safe and low speeds in the dark. The darkness and the reduced light actually make it far more difficult for you to stay safe on the water in the dark. Floating objects like flotsam may be a collision risk if you are traveling at high speeds. Fixed objects and crab spotters also pose a crash risk if you are at high speeds, and unable to see them in time to avoid a collision.

You should also dim the background lighting. These lights can affect your ability to focus on the course ahead. Experts also suggest that a compass can be more effective than a chart plotter in the dark.

It is very important to have someone serving as a lookout when you are out boating in the dark. A lookout’s job will be to keep his eyes on the horizon while you are taking care of steering the boat safely.

If you are boating at night, adhere to federal laws that regulate the use of lights on a boat. The rules require boaters to use red or green lights or a combination of the two to indicate to others the size of the boat, the direction it is traveling etc. These regulations are contained in the Coast Guard’s Boater’s Guide to Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats.

If you have been involved in a boating accident, there may be parties that you can hold accountable in a claim for damages for your losses. For example, if you were in an accident caused by a boat operator’s high speed, alcohol use or boating mistakes, you may be able to hold the operator accountable in a claim.  If the accident was caused by  defective boat parts or a malfunctioning craft, you may be able to hold the manufacturer of the boat responsible for your losses. If you have been injured in a boat accident, talk to an experience personal injury  attorney to discuss your chances for a claim.

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