Florida Boating Safety

Boating is one of the best activities to enjoy when the weather is nice but is also one of the most fraught with danger.  Although Florida has thousands of miles of navigable coastline as well as many lakes, rivers, and other navigable waters, the state also had the most boating accidents and fatalities in 2017 of any state in the country, according to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Florida has the largest number of registered boats and other water vessels in the country, so its waters are teeming with boats and personal watercraft literally all year round.  Many people also are likely to visit Florida for the holidays and chances are that many will take the opportunity to enjoy some time on the water.

Holidays are typically the busiest time of the year for boaters, but particularly in South Florida.  This can make for an increased risk of accidents with the number of boats and personal watercraft on the water in an area that is hazardous for boating even during the most normal of times.  For instance, a 2017 article from local news website Patch even noted that South Florida by itself has a higher rate of boat fatalities and injuries than the entire state of California.  Therefore, it is important to be proactive in making sure that you stay safe if you will be out on the water during the 2018/2019 holiday season.

Tips for Safe Boating as the Holidays Approach

However, even though the holidays can be a particularly busy time on the water, there are steps you can take as a boater to ensure that you have as safe an experience as possible.  According to a report from the TCPalm website, some of the safety tips recommended by experts include the following:

  • Do not follow too closely behind another boat or personal watercraft because inexperienced operators often can and do make unexpected decisions when operating an unfamiliar boat or watercraft.
  • Always look over both shoulders before making a turn in a boat or watercraft because another boat or watercraft often can appear out of nowhere, particularly if the other vessel is traveling at a high rate of speed.
  • Make sure that all passengers onboard as well as the boat or watercraft operator wear life jackets at all times,
  • Be sure to have the appropriate safety gear on board before leaving the dock, including life jackets for everyone who will be on board and flares in the event you become stranded far away from shore so that you can signal for help.
  • If you are going to be operating a boat or watercraft, do not drink beforehand. Alcohol plays a part in a large proportion of boating accidents and impaired judgment from several drinks combined with inexperience can be a deadly combination.
  • Let someone know who is not going with you what general vicinity you will be boating in. That way if your boat or watercraft stalls, then someone will be able to alert first responders as to where they are likely to find you in the event the boat stalls or you become stranded.
  • Check the marine forecast before you leave the dock. A regular weather report will not tell you things that are important to boating safety, such as whether there is a small craft advisory or similar advisory on the particular day you are going boating.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. if You or a Loved One Have Been Involved in a Boating Accident in Florida

Boating accidents are unfortunately all too common in Florida.  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 waters.  However, if you follow the safety tips above, your chances of becoming involved in a boating accident are likely to be lower than if you simply show up at the dock and head out on the boat.  Since our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined practice, 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.