Preventing Boating Accidents off the Florida Coast

With one million boats registered in the state, boating is clearly one of Florida residents’ favorite recreational activities. Despite the wide-open sea and less traffic than on the roads, boating can still be dangerous, as many Floridians suffer injuries or die each year in boating accidents. Three Cape Coral men were recently involved in a boating accident and required hospitalization. Their boat hit a seawall at a high rate of speed and ended up partially on land. Authorities believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

In Delray Beach, authorities charged a man with negligent homicide, reckless operation of a vessel, and a violation of navigation rules for his role in a boating accident that killed a passenger of his. The driver’s operation of the boat threw the deceased man overboard, causing him to hit his head. Authorities took over an hour to locate his body in the water. The driver, the man who fell overboard, and another passenger were not wearing life jackets, investigators noted.

Though boating is considered more recreational and leisure activity than driving a car, people still owe each other duties to behave non-negligently. Negligent or reckless behavior has no place on the road or the open sea. If a boating accident has injured you or a loved one, an Orlando personal injury attorney can provide you with the expertise you need to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Preventing Boating Accidents in Florida’s Waters

  • Wear a life jacket. Florida agencies and the US Coast Guard have been recently promoting the Coast Guard’s Wear It! campaign, which encourages Floridians to wear life jackets while out on the ocean. Wearing them is currently optional, and authorities believe that they are the single most effective way of reducing boating accidents and deaths, as nearly half of all fatal boating accidents involve someone falling overboard. A Red Cross study found that 92% of boating drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket or were wearing one incorrectly.
  • Operate the boat at a safe speed. The same dangers present themselves on a boat as they do in a car. At high speeds, boats maneuver more difficultly, and it cuts down on the time you have to react in the event of an emergency. High speeds also increase the likelihood of serious injury.
  • Keep lookout and be vigilant about your surroundings. There are obviously no marked lanes or stoplights at sea, so it is even more important when operating a boat to be aware of other people and vessels. Leave plenty of room between yourself and others. Err on the side of safety, and do not assume that another party is going to take a particular action.
  • Do not operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Red Cross determined that two-thirds of boating accident victims had consumed alcohol. Authorities could attribute 35% of boating accidents directly to alcohol use, and the majority of fatal boating accidents involved alcohol. Operating a boat while under the influence of a substance is never a wise decision.

By taking the proper safety precautions and acting cautiously, boating can be safe for everyone. However, not everyone approaches boating in such a manner. If negligent boating has injured you or a loved one, contact an Orlando personal injury lawyer at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. to learn how you can obtain compensation for your injuries.