Know the risks before you head out onto Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland is a famous tourist destination, with people coming not just from all over Kentucky but all over the country to enjoy its glinting waters. With more than 50,000 of open water stocked with many kinds of fish and miles of shoreline, Lake Cumberland is an ideal inland location for those who want to go out on a boating adventure.

There is a large, state-operated dock and even rental boats available for those who cannot bring their own. Unfortunately, there is a downside to all of the aquatic adventure people enjoy at Lake Cumberland. Knowing the biggest risks can help you stay safer out on the water.

Drunk boaters put everyone at risk

Few things are more relaxing than enjoying a beer with friends while out on a boat. Whether you want to find a quiet cove for fishing or just enjoy the view, a cold drink can enhance the experience. Unfortunately, heat, dehydration and even inadequate food can all mean that those drinks have a stronger impact than they might in a social setting on land.

Although you may know your limits and be quite careful not to overindulge, inevitably, some people will have too much to drink. Drunk boaters can make boating mistakes that lead to collisions, which people have an obligation to report.

Teenagers and other unskilled operators can cause issues as well

Kentucky limits who can operate boats. Those under the age of 12 generally can’t do so legally if the vehicle has a motor. Young adults between the ages of 12 and 17 can sometimes legally operate watercraft if they take a course and secure proper licensing.

The requirements for a course to operate a boat go away when someone reaches 18. However, adults without the right training can make boating mistakes as easily as teen boaters might. The more vessels there are in any part of the lake, the greater the risk generated by unskilled and inexperienced operators.

Don’t indulge the aversion of others to safety equipment

No one wants to be the boring voter that demands everybody cover up with ugly personal flotation devices (PFDs). However, a large number of boating fatalities every year results from drowning, often because people were not wearing PFDs when they fell off of a vessel.

Although the state only requires children under 12 to wear PFDs while on motorized boats, asking all your passengers to wear one is a good idea. You don’t know when something will go wrong, so planning for the worst-case scenario could keep you and the other people in your care safer on the waters of Lake Cumberland.