Boating & Swimming Safety Tips

Boating Accidents Injure 3,500 Texans Each Year

Featured on this page:

  • Drowning Prevention
  • Water Safety Tips
  • Boating Accident Prevention
  • Pool Accident Prevention
  • River Accident Prevention
  • Beach Accident Prevention

Even during the winter months, Austinites enjoy warm enough weather to enjoy the lakes and rivers on motorboats, jet skies, sailboats and paddleboards.

So every season here in Central Texas calls for staying up-to-date on best safety practices while out enjoying the water.

Officials Urge Boaters to Exercise Caution After Recent Boating Disasters

On Friday officials recovered the body of a man who died in a boat – boat crash Tuesday night on Lake Austin. A serious boat crash Tuesday night, at around 7:56 p.m. injured two men, and caused the third man in his 40s to drown.

Authorities conducted a search for the third man near Aqua Verde Drive. The search concluded in the morning, at which time authorities say they believed everyone involved had been accounted for. Police did not find the man’s body until Friday morning when they dropped a sonar device into the water, and found the man’s body 15 minutes later.

Two other men were injured in the Tuesday night boat crash. One of the men, in his 50s, suffered serious injuries and was flown to the Dell Seton Medical Center. Another man suffered minor injuries.

Drowning Prevention

In the United States 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning. 1 of 5 of these victims are children. Across the board, whether you’re swimming or boating, there are key steps to drowning prevention. In an attempt to prevent drowning, obey the following:

  • Use a Safety Device: Can’t swim? Out of shape? Know you’re a weak swimmer? Well then you should be wearing a flotation device. Maybe you’re a bit older and think they just aren’t cool. Well, it doesn’t matter. Even if you think you are in the clear because you are in shallow water, you should still be well protected. Especially will how rough the waters are currently, a seemingly harmless body of water could have a strong current, and if you are a weak swimmer, you could end up in an incredibly dangerous situation. This is very relevant with children. Even if your child shows signs of being a strong swimmer, they should always have a life vest, especially when on a boat. In Texas, children under 13 are required to wear a life vest when on a boat. Always use a safety device if you wouldn’t feel comfortable treading water for an extended period of time, and encourage safety device usage in friends and family that you know are weak swimmers.
  • Swim with Supervision: It is always best to swim somewhere that has a lifeguard on duty. Swimming in areas without a lifeguard puts you at risk, because often there will be no one looking out for your safety. If you are a weak swimmer, and swimming in an area without a lifeguard, understand the risk and make sure you are with a buddy. Parents, if there is no lifeguard present, stay with your child, even if they are using or wearing flotation safety devices. Accidents can happen and devices malfunction, so it’s important that children have adult supervision by someone who is a confident swimmer themselves. If you are on a boat, make sure someone on the boat is a very experienced swimmer or has their CPR certification. Boating or swimming without an experienced swimmer and CPR certified individual is a huge risk to everyone present.
  • Watch the Weather: The water in Austin is currently more dangerous than normal, even on a sunny day. Any time you set foot in water, be aware of the weather conditions. High winds could prove dangerous, especially when boating or swimming in the lake or ocean. Even swimming in the rain can be dangerous in a pool. High winds not only cause waves, but could cause a person to lose balance. Pools are often slippery, and you don’t want to risk slipping on a pool ladder and hitting your head, rendering yourself unconscious. It is best to stay away from water activities if the weather is not ideal, even if it is still hot out or your only day off.

Water Safety Tips

Although there are some common safety tips, many are specific to where you are or what you’re doing. Going on a boat and swimming in a pool come with very different safety concerns, so it is important to understand safety tips specific to the environment you are in.

Boating Accident Prevention

Boating accidents result in 40 deaths a year in Texas, so safety is essential.

Boating comes with different dangers than other water activities. Yes, still wear life vests, but also be weary of other dangers:

  • Experience Boater Aboard: We already stated the importance of having someone CPR certified on board, but it is also important to have someone with a boating license on board. A boating license is essential, so never let anyone without a boating license operate the boat. There are certain boating laws and regulations that must be followed, and certain safety measures that a non-boater wouldn’t be aware of. This person should be the one operating the boat and giving safety information to the other people on board. They will let everyone know where they should sit and how they should behave when the boat is moving. They will also know the speed that should be maintained, how to operate the boat, and the necessity of keeping eyes peeled. Maintaining focus while operating a boat is as important as keeping your eyes on the road when driving, because there are others out on the water besides yourself.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: When boating on lakes there can be a particular danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. So whether tubing, wake-boarding, water-skiing, it is important to remember not to hang on the back deck of the boat and look out for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning like headaches, nausea, dizziness.

Pool Accident Prevention

By far the most popular summer water destination, swimming pools can often get crowded. Many pools are equipped with lifeguards who help prevent drowning, but some, like backyard pools or special hours at community pools, aren’t guarded. It is vital that weak swimmers are supervised under these conditions. Parents of small children should also look out for signs of Dry Drowning which can happen hours after a child leaves the pool when water sucked in while struggling to swim is slowly released into the lungs.

River Accident Prevention

Floating the river is a favorite summer pastime for many, especially in Central Texas which has a plethora of clean, cold waterways. For some on the water, their cooler is filled with drinkable water and snacks. For many though, it’s filled with beer and other kinds of alcohol. Alcohol and swimming are a dangerous combination as the alcohol weakens strength and coordination that allows people to swim and stay afloat. The best bet is to stick to non-alcoholic drinks while floating the river, but if you must have a beer with your float, drink modestly. This is especially relevant now that the currents are much stronger, and the water is flowing at a faster speed. Make sure you wear a life vest, lather on sunblock, be cautious of rocks, and stay with your group.

Beach Accident Prevention

Traveling 4 hours to Port Aransas or 3 1/2 hours to Galveston? Wouldn’t it stink if you got all the way there and weren’t prepared? Make sure when traveling to the beach, you first remember to pack all the necessary safety equipment. Have the right size life vests, proper SPF sunblock, hats, and lots of water. Beach safety doesn’t only apply to the ocean. Sunburns are a serious problem, as is dehydration. So make sure to prepare in advance.

When in the ocean, be very careful swimming, especially if you aren’t usually an ocean swimmer. Some areas, like around piers or jetties, have permanent rip currents, but these powerful currents can occur anywhere, often without warning. It is important to remember to not fight the current. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and can swim back to shore. Children and the elderly should particularly be careful even in shallow waters as the waves at the beach can cause a loss of balance and footing and undertows can be strong enough to pull the individual underwater.

If you are at the beach, make sure to swim in areas where there is a life guard on duty. Us Austinites aren’t used to ocean waves, and it could be dangerous. Also keep an eye on ocean conditions. Many beaches display safety flags, alerting the public the safety of the water. As in a traffic light, green is good, yellow is proceed with caution, and red is danger.

Boating and Water Accident Lawyers

One moment you’re in a boat, speeding across the water and enjoying your day off when the driver takes a disastrous turn into a rock.  Thrown from the boat, your day of fun in the sun has turned into a tragic accident.

If you or a loved one has been hurt through no fault of their own or while under someone else’s supervision, boat accident lawyer the victim of a water safety accident or know someone who has drowned under supposed supervision, contact the McMinn Law Firm to evaluate your case quickly and without cost.

According to the Coast Guard, only 10 percent of boating accidents are actually reported. That means there is likely 10 times the number of accidents happening that require representation. This is despite a law that states accident reports have to be filed within 30 days of a boating related incident or a fine up to $500 could be issued.

Lake Travis alone had 12 fatalities in 2006. Although alcohol is commonly sited as the leading cause for boating-related accidents, according to the Lake Travis

A serious boating accident could create big expenses from medical bills, lost wages or long-term care needs. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a boating accident, you need an Austin lawyer who is experienced in boating accidents.

Hiring an Austin Lawyer from McMinn Law will give you experienced knowledge of local and state laws concerning water-related accidents on Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake McQueeney, Horseshoe Bay, and the Guadalupe River.

Once you work with McMinn, you’ll feel confident that your case is being handled in the most cost-effective way possible. They specialize in personal injury cases, and their attorneys will aggressively assert your rights against all negligent parties.