New Boating Laws for 2016
School is out, a sure sign of summer! Also a sign that boating season is upon us again.
Before you get caught up in the variety of summer water activities popular in Minnesota, please take time to read this.
In 2015, the DNR reported 18 fatal boating accidents, 71 non-fatal boating accidents, and 35 non-boating drownings. The DNR’s summary of these accidents is below.
"There were 16 fatal accidents, involving 16 boats, resulting in 18 deaths. There were no additional injuries, but there was $8,300 in property damage. There were 2.23 deaths per 100,000 registered boats, compared to the U.S. rate in 2014 of 5.2. All of the fatal accidents involved a single boat. Four of the watercraft were non-motorized and 12 were motorized. Three of the victims were from the same boat. Seven of the accidents were falls overboard, six were capsizings, one was a collision with a floating object which caused the boat to flip, one was carbon monoxide poisoning, and one involved a victim who left the boat to pull it into shore. Life jackets were known to be worn by only two of the victims out of the total of 18 (11%). The most common age ranges for victims were 51 years and over (9) and 18-40 years old (7). The most common age range for the operator was 51 years and over (8). Alcohol was listed as a factor in seven of the 16 accidents (44%)."
Apart from the usual safety tips (review the DNR’s boating safety guide, wear a life jacket, stay sober, be aware of weather, and understand how all aspects of your boat work) there are several changes in boating laws for 2016.
New for 2016 are the following:
• An alcohol concentration of .16 or more is now an aggravating factor elevating Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) to a gross misdemeanor.
• Watercraft are now prohibited from towing passengers from one-half hour after sunset to sunrise of the following day.
• Personal watercraft life jackets must now be U.S. Coast Guard-approved/not prohibited for use with personal watercraft or while water skiing.
Let’s all make the 2016 boating season a safe one.
If you or loved one are involved in a boating accident or suffer a boating injury it is important to consult with an experienced Know Your Rights personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call me or submit your case inquiry online 24/7. We’re here to help.