Recreational boating is one of the most popular summer activities for Las Vegas residents. If you are preparing to enjoy a day on a lake or a trip to the coast this summer, it is imperative that you understand basic boating safety rules. According to the United States Coast Guard, there were 47 boating accidents in Nevada in 2014, the most recent year in which data was available. That same year, 11 people in Nevada lost their lives in boat crashes and other boating accidents on the water.

Poor weather, speed, insufficient experience and alcohol are some of the top causes for boating fatalities across the country. The National Marine Manufacturers Association provides several tips for staying safe on the water this year. These include the following:

  • Always wear a life jacket, even if you are a good swimmer.
  • Avoid operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Check the predicted weather conditions before going on the water.
  • Do not speed or operate a boat in a manner dangerous to your passengers or other boaters.

These tips are simple, yet vital, to observe. For example, if you are thrown from a boat in a speed-related accident, you might be injured and unable to swim. A life jacket could keep you from drowning until rescuers arrive. Adverse weather may also occur rapidly on the water, even if the weather seems nice to begin with. Being informed of possible storms ahead of time might keep you from encountering dangerous lightning, winds or high waves. It should also go without saying that alcohol and boating make an extremely dangerous combination. Motorized boats are motor vehicles, and therefore are associated with the same dangers in alcohol-related crashes as cars and trucks.

Smart planning, common sense and courtesy for your fellow boaters may help you avoid a tragedy this summer.