Every year, just before Memorial Day, the U.S. promotes National Boating Safety Week.
With the drastic rise in boating accidents in Florida — exceeding the number of boating accidents in every other state in 2015 according to the Florida Times-Union — there has never been a better time to practice boating safety.
As the nation gears up for a long weekend of Memorial Day activities, which range from somber memorials to boating, fishing, swimming, and barbecuing, it’s important to keep boating safety in mind. There’s sure to be a significant number of boats out on Florida’s waterways not only this weekend but in the upcoming summer months, so be aware of what you can do to stay safe.
What Is Causing Boat Accidents in Florida?
In 2017, the state saw 766 boating accidents, according to News-Press, a division of USA Today. Of those accidents, 61 of them resulted in one or more fatalities. Lt. Seth Wagner, of FWC’s (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservancy) Boating and Waterways Section, suggests some reasons for the staggering number of boating accidents. “For 2017, the leading contributor to boating accidents was the operator’s inattention or failure to maintain a proper lookout,” he said. “It is critical for operators to be diligent in observing and being aware of what is going on around them.”
How to Stay Safe on the Water
Florida is considered the boating capital of the world, and every Florida resident should have a basic idea of how to stay safe when on a boat. The FWC recommends these simple boating safety tips:
- Wear a life jacket. Even if you can swim, wearing a life jacket while boating can reduce your chances of being injured or killed in a boating accident.
- Have a personal locator beacon (PLB) on your boat. If you are in a boating accident, a PLB can help you transmit an emergency message and get help quickly.
- Maintain 360-degree awareness. Be aware of what is in front of your boat, behind it, to the left of it, and to the right. Never drink and boat, for the same reason that you would not drink and get behind the wheel of a car. Alcohol can reduce your awareness and reaction time, making it difficult to avoid an accident. If alcohol will be part of your summer boating festivities, make sure to have a designated driver who is trained in boat operation and safety.
Injured in a Boating Accident? Contact an Attorney Today
If the negligence or carelessness of someone else causes you or a loved one to be injured in a boating accident, don’t wait to get help from an experienced boating accident lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Frank D. Butler today by calling 888-262-8529.