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Stay safe while boating this Memorial Day weekend

When residents of other states mention Colorado, it's typically in reference to the Rocky Mountains. But native Coloradans know that there is a thriving boating community who loves to get out onto the rivers, lakes and reservoirs for a day of fishing or recreational boating.

But responsible boaters understand the dangers of combining boating with drinking alcohol. Of the 1,000 annual boating accident deaths in the United States, a full half are attributable to alcohol consumption.

The federal National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) notes that only highway accidents top recreational boating accidents in deaths. There is a phenomenon known as "boater's hypnosis" where the exposure to the sun's rays, the noise, motion and vibration from the boat combine with the wind and glare off the water to slow boaters' reactions to the point it is almost like they were legally intoxicated.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's boating safety manager stated, "[P]eople . . . need to wear life jackets and . . . stay sober, because it only takes about a third as much alcohol to impair a person's judgment on water as it does on land."

It's also vital to insist that all boat passengers wear their life jackets, as 90% of drowning deaths occur to those without life jackets on.

If your upcoming Memorial Day weekend plans include a boating excursion, make sure that you follow all laws and safety regulations to reduce the likelihood of your being involved in an accident.

But sometimes another person's carelessness will cause you to get injured in a boating accident. Accidents that occur out on the water can be especially dangerous because they can happen in remote locations where it can take a long time for emergency medical assistance to reach the crash site.

It's prudent that all boats have well-stocked first-aid kits aboard so that basic first aid can be rendered to the injured after a boating accident. Knowing how to stabilize injuries until help arrives can increase the survival rate and reduce complications from the injuries.

At some future point, those who were injured due to another boater's negligence may decide to take legal action against the person(s) responsible for their injuries and other losses.

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