Virginia Beach Issues Safety Tips to Memorial Day Boaters

It’s going to be a hot Memorial Day weekend. While accidents usually spike over the holidays as millions of Americans embark on road trips, this is also a time when more people head out onto the water.

Just before the long Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia Beach Police Department Marine Patrol, issued safety advice to boaters.

Often boaters head out onto waterways like the James River, The Elizabeth River or the Lynnhaven River for the first time at the end of May. It’s vital that recreational boaters and jet ski riders check the electrical and mechanical conditions of their vessels before they get on the water. Failure to do so might mean you calling on the Coast Guard or the marine patrol and your life could be endangered.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires boaters to have the following items on board their vessel at all times:

  • Working fire extinguishers on power vessels;
  • Correctly sized life preservers for every person on board.
  • At least one Type IV Throwable Personal Floatation Device (PFD) per vessel.
  • Visual distress signals if your vessel will be out on the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean. This applies to vessels over 16 feet. If a 16 feet vessel is out on the water from sunset to sunrise, signals are required.
  • Working navigation lights if you are on the water from sunset to sunrise.
  • Audible signaling devices on boats 39 feet and over.

Boaters and jet skiers also have a duty to avoid swimmers. They must not approach within 100 yards of the sandy beaches of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean from May 1 through October 15 between 10 a.m. and sunset. Marine patrol state, the only exception is when launching or landing where allowed, or within 25 yards of a boat that’s displaying a dive flag.

Boaters should cognizant of the “no wake” zones in the waters of Virginia Beach waters, which are marked by signs or buoys.

Recently we wrote about how from July 1 of this year, all motorboat and jet ski operators, irrespective of their age, must have completed their Boater Safety Education Course.

All of us at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers wish you a great Memorial Day holiday. Don’t forget you should never operate a boat after drinking alcohol, just as you should not get behind the wheel of a car. Always designate a driver — even on the water. See our page on boating accidents and maritime law in Virginia. If you are hurt in an accident due to the fault of another boater, or equipment failure, call us today at (757) 455-0077.

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