Memorial Day 2021 looks to be much different from Memorial Day 2020. After a year of lockdowns and restrictions, many people are looking forward to a heaping helping of normal on the last weekend of May, which is the traditional start of the summer vacation season.

This means it’s time to brush up on some water safety tips. No amount of preparation can prevent all injuries. When things do go wrong, a New York personal injury attorney can review your case, identify your legal options, and obtain the financial compensation you need to move on with your life.

Area Lakes

Your boat, wave runner, or other watercraft in the garage is aching to be used. We get that. But before you hitch it to the trailer, take a breath.

All operators should take a safety refresher course. It’s easy to forget that driving a boat is nothing like driving a car. While you’re behind the wheel, keep the cut-off switch lanyard around your neck and keep a close eye on the propellers. Furthermore, even if you are a strong swimmer, wear a life preserver. Statistics indicate that these simple precautions prevent pretty much all boat-related accidents.

The problem is that not everyone takes these same precautions. In fact, especially on Memorial Day Weekend, many of the boat operators on area lakes have little or no experience and little or no training. These things, when combined with alcohol consumption, mean trouble.

Boat collisions are a good example. Many people forget that boats don’t have brakes or axles. They do not stop on a dime and they are not very responsive when turning. That’s especially true if the water is choppy. A hard collision will probably throw all passengers into the water, usually after they suffer head injuries. These victims often spend a few moments under the waves, and that’s all it takes for hypoxia to set in.

When the body doesn’t have enough oxygen, the brain shuts down organs to conserve this resource. Generally, this process starts with the extremities, like the fingers and toes, then quickly progresses to more vital areas.

Legally, boat collision claims are often complex. If the negligent boater rented the watercraft, the negligent entrustment doctrine could apply. Owners are vicariously liable for damages if they knowingly allow incompetent individuals to use their motor vehicles. Since boat rentals are usually commercial transactions, these victims must produce additional evidence in order to get around some limitations in federal law.

This memorial Day, lakes will probably be incredibly crowded, so there might not be many collisions. Falls are another matter.

When the music is playing and people are having fun, it’s easy for a passenger to go missing without anyone else realizing it. That’s especially true if most passengers are slightly inebriated. A life preserver should prevent serious injury in these situations. But another boat could hit people while they are helpless in the water. So, it’s important to designate a watcher and react quickly.

Swimming Pools

Designating a watcher also prevents many swimming pool drownings. Most children run into trouble at crowded pools. Everyone assumes that someone else is watching the kids. So, no one gets stuck with full-time babysitting, we recommend the tag team system.

Lack of supervision causes most swimming pool drownings, but not all of them. Sometimes, the pool drain is too strong and it creates a dangerous riptide. These events can pull even experienced swimmers under the water. If these people go MIA for a few minutes, a designated watcher might not think much of it. But as outlined above, a few minutes under the waves could cause a permanent or fatal injury.

Frequently, the water itself is a swimming pool hazard. If the chemical cleaner level is too high, many victims, especially children, could suffer serious chemical burns. If the cleaning level is too low, bacteria grows and multiples. These infections are especially serious for people with pre-existing conditions. To verify the chemical level in a pool, use a pool test strip. They are cheap, effective, and quick.

For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Marie Napoli. 

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day 2021.