If you Own or Operate a Boat, Then This is Something You Need to Know

With all the water surrounding a vessel, it would easily appear that boating is the least risky recreational activity – unless you fall overboard and do not know how to swim. The fact, however, is, a boating accident is just like any other motor vehicle accident; if person behind a boat’s wheel does not follow proper safety procedures, or operates his/her vessel while intoxicated, then he/she and all other boat passengers may likely find themselves in a bad situation.

The U.S. Coast Guard makes a yearly statistical record of all reported boating accidents in the US. For the year 2012, 651 fatalities and 3,000 injuries were recorded under recreational boating. Though this number is the lowest since 2004, this can still be considered to be pretty high considering the fact that boating accidents can be avoided.

Records from the U.S. Coast Guard also reveal that the top causes of boating accidents are excessive speed, machinery failure, improper lookout, operator’s lack of experience, man overboard and capsizing; in all these accidents, fault is attributed either to drunk operators or drunk passengers.

The following are facts about each of the top causes of boating accidents:

  • Excessive speed: if speeding on the road is like challenging the angel of death to snatch the life out of you through a tragic accident, operating a boat at excessive speed is no different. The force of impact created each time a speeding boat bounces off and back on the water can be strong enough to stun you and throw you or your passenger/s overboard, leaving you or anyone else with not enough strength to swim to safety. Boat owners and operators ought to know that drowning is the number one cause of death in the water and 80% of those who drowned were reported as not wearing a life jacket.
  • Machinery failure: if regularly maintained machines are still prone to malfunction, what can one expect with those that are not regularly checked and kept in good condition? Boats are definitely much more expensive than cars, thus, making sure that these are well maintained is not only less costly, but may also reduce chances of an accident (provided, of course, that the operator never does any irresponsible thing).
  • Improper lookout or improper forward watch: when operating a boat, steering clear out of danger can be more effectively done with the help of someone who can provide extra eyes and ears. Many accidents due to collision could have been avoided had an operator been given help in navigating his/her boat safely – to avoid anything that may cross its path or to navigate safely through shallow and rocky waters.
  • Inexperience: the less knowledgeable an operator is about his/her boat and the sea, the greater the risk of an accident, especially during emergency situations. While some states never require boat operators to undergo formal training, having the initiative to do so will definitely be beneficial; this includes paying lower insurance premiums.
  • Man overboard: abrupt maneuvering, freak waves, and rough weather can toss a passenger overboard, especially one who is not securely seated, intoxicated or just caught off-guard. The shift in momentum created by a powerboat, as it makes a turn, can also have the same effect.
  • Capsizing: this leading cause of fatality in boating accidents usually occurs during nightfall, when both darkness and intoxication begin to cause an operator to make poor judgment, especially when maneuvering, docking or anchoring. It is always safer to secure an anchor from the bow (front), rather than from the stern (the rear of the boat), or from the sides.

Taking a formal boating safety training course, wearing a life jacket, conducting a vessel safety check regularly, not drinking while out in the seas, not overspeeding and having a proper forward watch are just a number of the safety tips that the Coast Guard asks boaters to observe.

In its website, the law firm Truslow & Truslow says, “Many people who are on the water enjoy the view of the beautiful beaches with a drink in hand. However, when a boater is believed to have become too intoxicated to properly operate a boat, they can face serious criminal charges. In South Carolina, for instance, where those who engage in boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI) has increased so much that approximately 34% of boating fatalities per year are caused by BUI’s, simply operating a boat gives implied consent for a law enforcement officer to perform an alcohol test. Failing such a test can lead to fines of up to $6,000 and imprisonment for up to three years. It is possible to protect yourself from the harsh penalties that can be incurred for boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges with the help of an experienced Columbia boating while intoxicated attorney.”

Road Hazards to Look Out For

You are the not the only person on the road. Even though you are driving safely, you may still be involved in traffic accidents because of external factors, such as the recklessness of other drivers and the negligence of manufacturers that made your car malfunction. In this instances, you may even file a case against them with the help of legal professionals who specialize in auto accidents, like Bruner Law.

But the list of external factors doesn’t end there. In fact, there are a lot more that you should be conscious of. These factors put not just you in danger, but also the others around you.

Animals
To be fair, there are road signs that tell you that animals tend to cross the road. You drive diligently, so you can react when animals do cross the road. But what do you exactly? The best thing to do is to just drive forward, because abruptly changing lanes for the sake of a deer may cause more devastating consequences. But if the animal is too large, like a moose for example, you can make the effort to hit on the brakes instead.

Construction Zones
Do not underestimate construction zones and drive carefully and slowly. Take the extra effort of following all the merge signs and flaggers. Also, remember that there may be construction workers and construction equipment in the area that you can hit. To reduce the potential of collisions, you can turn on your headlights. Workers will see you better and you can spot and avoid their equipment with ease.

Debris on the road
Debris may come in many forms, such as car parts from traffic accidents, spilled substances because of rolled over trucks, and trees that have fallen because of winds. Big debris may be visible from afar and you may notice a slowing of traffic flow. Slow down, pass through the debris, and speed again.

Road defects
Defects on the road such as potholes can also cause accidents. When you see a pothole, slow down, grip your steering wheel firmly, and go through it. Only go around it if it is possible and safe. Another common road defect is malfunctioning street lights, and other motorists will have the tendency to exploit it by not giving right of way so they can have an advantage. Your safety is more important than a few seconds of wasted time. Make sure that the other vehicles are stopped before going through that defective light.

Embezzlement, a Pre-meditated White-Collar Methodical Crime

Embezzlement, which is a form of white-collar crime, is committed when a person misappropriates the assets entrusted to him/her. It is often shocking to know that, despite the amounts of money that have been or continue to be embezzled, which often reach millions or billions of dollars, are never discovered until a relatively large portion of the funds are needed at one time or if a complete and independent accounting of all real and liquid assets is suddenly required.

Some of the biggest embezzlement cases in the U.S. include: the embezzlement of billions of dollars of investor money; embezzlement of employee retirement funds and billions of dollars in accounting fraud; fraud, embezzlement and ponzi scheme totaling to $8 billion; and embezzlement of $20 million of investor dollars.

Embezzlement is usually a deliberate crime that is methodically performed. By repeatedly embezzling only a small fraction or proportion of the total resources or funds and falsifying records in order to minimize risk of the detection, an embezzler can continue committing this crime for years or even decades without being detected. Some past embezzlement schemes are deemed very successful as these went on for many years before detection. This is due to the embezzler’s skill in concealing the nature of the transactions or in gaining the trust and confidence of investors or clients.

Laws on embezzlement may be federal or state-based. On the federal level, embezzlement laws target those who steal from the government. On the state level, laws go after public officials working for state and local governments, as well as people who do not work for the government.

Under federal statute 18 USC 3282, an embezzlement case may only be pursued within five years of the commission of the offense. Those convicted will be punished based on a point system. Base Offense Level, which is six, is the point assigned to those who have embezzled $5000 or less; the highest offense level is 36, which can be assigned to those who cause losses above $400 million.

According to a Wisconsin embezzlement defense attorney, though allegations of embezzlement may seriously impact your public image and career, a conviction may very well end your career once and for all. Once you have been made aware of any charges or investigations of public corruption against you, you will need to begin taking a number of precautions in order to defend your rights and protect your future from the federal prosecutors who will be trying your case.

What To Do With A Damaged Roof Gutter?

Roof gutters are vital in ensuring the integrity of your home’s structure by funneling rain water off your roof and preventing it from soaking through the surface. A roof gutter that works perfectly can help prevent common issues such as leaks, blown renderings, water damage, and mold growth. One of the most common reasons behind gutter damage is corrosion or rusting. Fortunately, this issue is minor and easy to solve on your own.

Before working on the gaps and holes caused by corrosion in your roof gutter, it’s important to prep the damaged areas by thoroughly cleaning the gutter in places where you’re going to make the repair. Make use of a spray cleaner, as well as a scrub brush, and then pat the gutter down with a rag.

Once the area is clean, you can then begin to fit a new piece of aluminum sheet or metal flashing to where the gaps and holes are in your roof gutter. Cut out a piece that is large enough to cover the damage you want to repair, but make sure you leave an extra few inches as an allowance.

Finally, after this is all done, you can then take sealant or caulking and place the metal piece over the damaged areas of the gutter, allowing it to work like patches that are used to cover tears in clothing. Make use of a generous amount of caulking. Ensure that the new patch won’t budge by coating the bottom side of the area with enough calking as well. There are many different types of caulking you can use, but most experts agree on the use of PL Polyurethane caulking.

While fixing a troublesome roof gutter is an easy enough task, not all problems involving the gutter in your roofing will be as easy to solve. In such cases, you have access to dozens upon dozens of roofing contractors to help you do the job. Those in Florida can check out www.bestroofing.net for more information.

Factors That Would Make a Court Disapprove Visitation Rights

In a divorce or child custody action, visitation rights refer to the approval granted by the court to the non-custodial parent in being with his or her child at times agreed upon by spouses (during their divorce process) or at times that have been determined by the courts; courts, however, prefer that visitation schedule is decided by both parents.

Once a courts approves a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights, this should be respected and observed by both the custodial and non-custodial parents. If, in case, a custodial parent denies his or her former partner the right to visit their child, then non-custodial parent gains the right to request the court for a modification in the child custody decision.

While a court has the authority to grant visitation right, it also has the authority to deny a non-custodial parents this right. Denial of this right is necessary if the non-custodial parent would only negatively impact the child’s growth and development if he or she spends time with the child. According to the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, this is most likely the case if the non-custodial parent: poses immediate danger to the child due to alcohol or drug abuse; does not want to be visited by the child; has a history of domestic violence; and/or, resides in an unsafe neighborhood. On the other hand, to make sure that ‘fit’ non-custodial parents are given time with their child/children, some states have found it necessary to determine specific days when parent and child can spend bonding moments.

Some states, like Utah and Texas, for instance have determined specific times a non-custodial parent can spend with his or her child. In other states, a court may just allow divorced parents to draw a “reasonable visitation” schedule – a schedule that will actually work for both parents, considering their specific jobs and available time.