In the Wake of Tragedy: Seven Boating Safety Tips

Many know American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor Usher for his Billboard rankings. Usher’s albums have made him millions of appreciative fans. But after his son  was hit by a jet ski last week and suffered a traumatic brain injury, the artist’s fans began offering their sympathies.

On Friday, July 6, Usher’s 11-year-old stepson, Kyle Glover, was floating on an inner tube on Lake Lanier in Atlanta, GA, when he and a 15-year-old friend were hit on the head by a passing jet ski.

The pair were airlifted to Egelston Hospital in Atlanta, but by the following day, Kyle showed no brain activity and doctors pronounced him brain dead.

NEWS UPDATE: Kyle passed away when his parents agreed to take him off life support, 21 days after the tubing accident. Our condolences go out to his family.

Head Trauma Common in Boating Accidents

Trauma, including brain injury, is the second most common cause of death in boating accidents. According to the 2011 United States Coast Guard (USCG) Recreational Boating Statistics, of 3,081 injuries, 247 involved concussions and 72 involved spinal cord injuries.

Don’t let a delightful day on the water turn to tragedy. Keep these seven important rules in mind next time you go boating:

1. Use common sense. We all know the basic rules of water safety: know how to swim; wear a life jacket, and stay sober. Knowledge can’t protect you, however, if you don’t apply it. So wear your safety vest proudly, and if you are driving the boat, or any other water vehicle, stick to lemonade.

2. Know waterway rules. The USCG has outlined 38 Navigation Rules and five annexes that every boater should know in order to avoid collisions.

3. Maintain a safe speed. There are many factors that determine what speed is safe. Consider the following factors whenever you are operating a vessel, and  adjust your speed to match your ability to identify and react to hazards.

  • Visibility
  • Traffic density
  • Vessel maneuverability
  • Environmental factors, such as wind, current, waves
  • Proximity of navigational hazards

4. Stay vigilant. Even when totally sober, it is easy to become distracted. Always maintain a proper lookout. If needed, you may have to employ a helper to alert you to surrounding vessels, people and objects in the water.

5. Know your limits. When operating a vessel, stay within your skill level. Many water crafts, such as powerboats and jet skis, are extremely powerful. Do not exceed your ability to control your vessel or to respond quickly to an unexpected obstacle.

6. Give other vessels space. Vessels in motion often tow skiers and inner tubes; swimmers are often found around vessels at rest. They can be difficult to see, so always assume that they are there. Stay away from boat wakes, give vessels a wide berth and when you do pass close by, slow down and be extra alert.

7. Always make safety the priority. When having fun, the potential for disaster can seem insignificant. But it only takes a moment for a fun day to turn to sorrow and for a life to be forever changed or lost.

The 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics reveal that the top four contributing factors to boating accidents are: operator inattention; improper lookout; operator inexperience; and excessive speed.

Kyle Glover remains in critical condition at Egelston Hospital. Please help prevent a tragic injury like the one that he suffered. Keep these tips in mind during your next day on the water, and help keep yourself and others safe.

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If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to a boating accident, please contact us immediately. You may be eligible for compensation. We provide a free consultation with one of our caring and knowledgeable attorneys, during which we will discuss your legal options.


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