Temperatures are heating up in Las Vegas and everyone is heading to the water to stay cool. Boaters and water enthusiasts should be careful because boat accidents in Nevada are more common than you think. A recent article just revealed Nevada ranks as the most dangerous state for boaters. An enjoyable day at Lake Mead can quickly turn into a devastating event. In this article we will go over boat safety in Nevada including applicable laws.
Sometimes boat safety isn’t enough and an accident occurs. If a boat accident injures you or a loved one, seek medical help immediately. Once you have received medical care, consult with an experienced boat accident lawyer. The experienced team at Anthem Injury Lawyers is ready to help you. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation.
Boating Accident Statistics
Boating accidents are serious events and in some instances are fatal. The National Safe Boating Council reported:
- 4,168 boating accidents in 2019.
- 613 boating related deaths in 2019.
- 70 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had no boating safety instruction.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal provided grim statistics for boating accidents in and around Nevada, revealing why boat safety is so important. Its recent article reported that:
- Nevada is the most dangerous state for boating. Nevada averages nearly 130 boat crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage per 100,000 registered boat owners each year.
- The second most dangerous state is Utah which saw 126 crashes per 100,000 registered boat owners.
- The third most dangerous state is Arizona which saw 104 crashes per 100,000 registered boat owners.
If a boating accident in Nevada injures you or a loved one, seek counsel from Anthem Injury Lawyers. Our office is in Henderson and we work with clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a free consultation at (702) 857-6000.
Rules for Boat Safety
Safe boating requires following the rules of the water. If you are boating at Lake Mead, the National Park Service provides regulatory and boat safety information. Below are some rules for Lake Mead recreational boating.
Complete a Safe Boating Course
Anyone under 18 years of age must take and pass a NASBLA approved boating education course to operate a vessel in Nevada. NASBLA stands for National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Anyone over 18 must abide by the requirements for their state of residency.
A Nevada resident must possess a certificate of completion for a boater education course or proficiency exam if he/she:
- Was born after December 31, 1982 and
- Operates a vessel that goes more than 15 miles per hour in Nevada.
Never Boat Impaired
Impaired boating is dangerous and illegal. Never boat impaired. Passenger safety requires a sober boat operator. Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 488.410(1), it is unlawful for any person who:
- Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
- Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath; or
- Is found by measurement within two hours after operating or being in actual physical control of a vessel to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath,
to operate or be in actual physical control of a vessel under power or sail on the waters of Nevada.
Impaired boating is not restricted to alcohol, it includes other prohibited substances. NRS 488.410(3) outlines prohibited substances and the quantities not allowed in a person’s blood or urine. Prohibited substances include the following:
- Cocaine metabolite
- Heroin metabolite
- Lysergic acid diethylamide
Boat operators are also prohibited from having specific amounts of marijuana and marijuana metabolite in their blood. Boat safety is everyone’s responsibility. Impaired boating is dangerous boating.
Wear a Life Jacket or Personal Flotation Device
Life jackets save lives. Accidents and injuries occur when passengers do not expect to be in the water. Boat safety requires all passengers to have a personal flotation device.
Pursuant to NRS 488.193:
- Every vessel must carry at least one personal flotation device of a type approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and prescribed by the regulations of the Commission (Board of Wildlife Commissioners) for each person on board and any person in a vessel being towed, so placed as to be readily accessible for use in an emergency.
A personal flotation device required by this subsection is readily accessible for use in an emergency if:
- It is being worn; or
- It is stowed where it is quickly reachable and is:
- Ready to wear;
- Out of its original packaging; and
- Not under lock and key.
Life jackets must fit the intended user including children and infants. All persons 12 years or younger must wear a life jacket while on board a vessel.
All boats 16 feet or more in length must have a USCG approved type IV personal flotation device on board. This is in addition to life jackets for each individual. The type IV personal flotation device must be throwable. Examples of acceptable devices include a ring life buoy or buoyant cushion.
Purchasing a Life Jacket
When purchasing or using a life jacket (per the American Red Cross) make sure it is:
- The right jacket for the right activity.
- USCG approved.
- Properly fitted. Read the label for weight and size limits.
- Functioning properly. Check for tears or loose straps.
- Worn while in or around water. Put it on. Practice wearing it in the water.
Ensure Proper Fire Extinguisher(s)
Boat safety requires equipment including fire extinguishers. Pursuant to NRS 488.193(3):
- Every motorboat must be provided with such number, size and type of fire extinguishers, capable of promptly and effectually extinguishing burning gasoline, as may be prescribed by the regulations of the Commission. The fire extinguishers must be of a marine type which has been approved by the USCG and kept in condition for immediate and effective use and so placed as to be readily accessible.
Report Boating Accidents
Report all boating accidents to the National Park Service within 24 hours.
Check the Weather Before Boating
Check weather forecasts before going out on the water. Boat safety includes looking for storm warning flags at marinas. If a storm breaks while you are out:
- Immediately seek shelter in a protected cove and wait until the storm passes.
Be on the lookout for lightning. Lightning is a danger in open water.
Keep Aware of Water Levels
Water levels change throughout the year. Always approach the shore with caution. Watch for shallows and submerged debris.
Avoiding a Collision on the Water
A major responsibility of all individuals on the water is avoiding collisions. Sometimes these are unavoidable and in the event you become a victim in a boating accident caused by another, you’ll need an expert boat accident attorney on your side. Anthem Injury Lawyers offers years of experience successfully representing clients in boating accident cases. Call us for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000.
Boat-ed provides comprehensive instruction in Nevada boating safety education. Part of that education includes how to avoid a water collision. Boat-ed states that collisions can be avoided if boat operators fulfill the following three major responsibilities.
- Practice good seamanship. Every boat operator must take all necessary action to avoid a collision. Operators should take into account: weather, vessel traffic, and limits of other vessels.
- Keep a proper lookout. Collisions are most commonly caused by failing to keep a sharp lookout. Operators should use their sight and hearing at all times. Remember to watch and listen for other vessels, radio communications, navigational hazards, and others on the water.
- Maintain a safe speed. Safe speed is the speed that ensures the operator has ample time to avoid a collision and can stop within an appropriate distance. Safe speed varies depending on conditions. Conditions include wind, water conditions, navigational hazards, visibility, surrounding vessel traffic density, and the maneuverability of the boat. Always reduce speed and navigate with extreme caution at night and when visibility is restricted.
Safe boating is smart boating. Only operate a boat if you can do so safely.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Boat Accident
Safe boating is everyone’s responsibility. Unfortunately, even the safest operators can be involved in a boat accident in or around Las Vegas, and need a good personal injury lawyer. Below are steps to take if you are injured in a boating accident.
- If you have been injured in a boat accident, seek medical help immediately. Get a full medical evaluation and take care of any injuries.
- Abide by all rules including reporting requirements.
- Consult with an experienced boating accident lawyer. You will need legal representation, and the lawyers at Anthem Injury Lawyers provide free consultations. As soon as you are out of danger, make us your first call. We are here to fight for you so you can get the compensation you deserve.
- Document everything. As soon as you get a chance, try to recall as many details as you can both leading to and following the accident. Take pictures and identify any possible witnesses. This documentation will help get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Do not speak with the insurance agency before consulting with a personal injury attorney. Often, insurance agencies will try to settle with you so they can close the case. Do not agree to anything before consulting with an experienced boat accident lawyer.
Experienced Boat Accident Lawyers
Were you injured in a boat accident? Was it the fault of someone else? Contact the experienced team at Anthem Injury Lawyers. We do not charge for initial consultations and will travel to you at home or in the hospital if necessary. We deal with personal injury cases all over Nevada, including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Reno, and all of Clark County. There are no fees until you have received your compensation. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 for a free consultation.