Boating Safety This Summer in Florida

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer for many people in Florida and throughout the rest of the country. This year in particular has made for a celebratory mood at this time, with the state now fully opened up to visitors and positive news in both the recent decreases in Covid-19 infection trends as reflected in the lower number of tests coming back positive and the increasing vaccination rate throughout Florida.  Given that the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 is now looking to be on the decline (at least for now) based on those recent test result numbers and the increasingly rapid rate of vaccinations that have taken place in the Sunshine State, many people are feeling in a celebratory mood and gathered with both family and friends this Memorial Day.   The same is expected to be true for the rest of the summer as the numbers of Covid infections hopefully continue to decline and the rate of vaccinations continues to increase, both in the Sunshine State and nationally.

However, while boating is an extremely fun activity, it can also be exceedingly dangerous.  This is particularly true if you are boating in the Sunshine State.  Florida consistently had one of the highest rates of boating accidents in the country prior to the pandemic, which makes it all the more important to exercise boating safety while out on the water in the Sunshine State given that more people are likely to be out on the water in the coming months as the threat from Covid-19 hopefully continues to recede in Florida.  Nevertheless, the best way to ensure boating safety is to always follow Florida’s boating laws while on the water and to operate your boat with care without drinking or driving your boat carelessly or at excessive speeds.  Alcohol and operating a watercraft at excessive speeds are two of the factors that contribute to the occurrence of most boating accidents, and it is important to keep yourself and those around you as safe as possible if you plan to be on the water this summer.

The Most Common Causes Of Boating Accidents and Florida Law Governing the Operation of Boats

Although all boating accidents are different, many involve similarities.  While Florida is one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous state in the country for boaters, most boating accidents involve alcohol or excessive speed or both in one form or another.  While it is not illegal to be drinking and to operate a boat under Florida law, Florida law does set a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 pursuant to which a person is permitted to operate a watercraft.  Anything higher than that, and a person can be arrested and criminally prosecuted for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Similarly, it also is illegal to operate a boat or watercraft recklessly or with willful disregard for the safety of others. Instead, a boat operator is required to prmote boating safety by operating “the vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner, having regard for other waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions, and all other attendant circumstances so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of another person outside the vessel or to endanger the life, limb, or property of another person due to vessel overloading or excessive speed.”  Failure to do so can result in criminal prosecution.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A

Boating accidents are extremely common in Florida, even among those who know what they are doing out on the water.  However, boating accidents occur with greater frequency in Florida than anywhere else in the United States, and there is a high incidence of death and injury in Florida due to boating accidents because of the sheer numbers of boats on Florida’s waterways.  Since our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined practice representing the victims of other people’s negligence in Florida, the lawyers of Schwed, Adams & McGinley have represented numerous victims of Florida boating accidents and well understand both how often these tragedies occur as well as the devastating impact these tragedies can have on a decedent’s family, friends and loved ones.  If you, a family member or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation today.