Boat Insurance News: Teen Creates a Boating Safety Legacy in Memory of Her Friend
A high school student from Canton, GA has turned tragedy into a lasting legacy of boating safety in memory of her friend who died in a boating accident. Hopefully her efforts will result in fewer boating accidents and boat insurance claims in the future.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security 2012 statistics the leading cause of boating accidents is operator inattention, closely followed by operator inexperience, then navigation rules violations and alcohol use. With over 3,000 boating accidents in the U.S. last year (651 fatal) it’s surprising that insurance for your boat doesn’t cost more.
This young teen’s hometown, like many across the United States, is dotted with lakes where families spend summer vacations boating and enjoying water sports. Sometimes, as in the case of her friend, teenaged fun leads to fatal accidents.
“My friend and those boys are just a few high-profile examples of several incidents when overcrowding, drinking and overall carelessness has led to tragedy at the lake,” Mary David Miller, a senior at Sequoyah High School, is quoted as saying in a story in the Cherokee Tribune.
“As a Cherokee county young adult, I am often on the lake with friends. It’s important for me to preserve the fun that I’ve had and encourage my friends to make safe boating fun boating.”
Miller, as part of her project, has been busy getting people to sign boater safety pledges and encouraging them to take boater education courses. She held an official pledge launch in early March by releasing 21 Japanese lanterns on the water of Lake Allatoona as a symbolic gesture.
“Each lantern represented eight pledges signed. The lanterns were beautiful and could be seen across Lake Allatoona for miles,” she explains.
She has been using Facebook to promote her cause and recently completed an online course to receive her own boater education certification. At the end of March she presented her project to the Cherokee County Board of Education, asking board members to show their support by signing her boat safety pledge.
Miller is not alone in her quest to make boating safety a priority for American boaters in the state of George.
Around the same time Miller launched her campaign, the Georgia State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 136, also known as the Kile Glover Boat Education Law and the Jake and Griffin Prince Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Law.
Entertainer Usher Raymond’s late stepson Kile Glover died of injuries sustained during a boating accident. Kile was being pulled on an inner tube behind a large boat when he was struck by a personal watercraft.
Jake and Griffin Prince were killed in June 2012 when they were enjoying time on a pontoon boat with others. Another boat struck their watercraft and both brothers perished. It took rescuers nine days to recover Griffin’s body.
If signed into law the bill passed at the state Legislature would make boaters face the same standards for the legal limits of alcohol as the drivers of motor vehicles. Additionally, it would require children up to age 13 (not 10 as previously) to wear life jackets, increase the age limit to operate some boats or watercraft and require boating education.
In South Carolina officers from the NC Department of Natural Resources promote safety by traveling to local schools and teaching teens safe boating practices as shown in the video below.
We can be guilty of operator error at any age although young boaters with limited experience and an inclination to feel invincible can be particularly susceptible. Parents can help by making sure their teens take boater safety classes (and refresher courses) and spend ample time providing driving guidance out on the water. Parents also want to ensure that their boat insurance agency knows that they have a teen driver when setting up insurance for the boat and be careful to select a boat insurance policy that provides ample coverage.
Taking boater safety and certification courses isn’t just smart; it can save you money on your boat insurance. To find out more, contact the marine insurance experts at Global Marine Insurance.