California’s warm and sunny weather brings countless outdoor enthusiasts to its beaches every year. While surfing certainly takes the stage in regards to water activities, boating is also a popular sport and leisure activity in the state. Yet any outdoor adventure can bring potential risks, and each year a substantial number of beach goers experience injuries due to boating accidents. In more extreme situations, such accidents can prove to be fatal, but there are a number of factors to be aware of before setting off on California’s dazzling blue waters.
NBC News of the Bay Area brings to attention California’s previous lax boating laws, and largely blames such laws for the increase in boating accidents in the area. As late as 2013, operators could be as young as 12 years old and still drive boats. Although the law has changed that detail and raised the minimum age to 16, countless injuries have occurred and lives have been lost. Recent statistics also show that California is the second-worst in the nation in number of boating accidents. Many claim this lag in enforcing stricter driving laws has been the primary reason for the overwhelming number of accidents in the area.
Even though levels of driver education is a significant factor in boating accidents, others point out that behavior such as speeding and alcohol influence are to blame. The California Department of Boating and Waterways provide reports on the statistics, causes and other factors regarding boating catastrophes, and shows that, even though most accidents arise from operator inattention, another driving force is alcohol. Most adventurers who hit the waves leave beaches unscathed, but it is always useful to know the risks and possible dangers before setting off on the water.