Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season.
Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 people died from recreational boating accidents, and the Coast Guard reported over 4,000 accidents overall. Know the top causes of boating accidents in Florida — so you can have the best possible chance of getting into one.
If you are driving a boat, you should always be on the lookout for bad weather or other unsafe conditions. Even looking away for a few seconds may result in an accident.
Inattention could lead to a collision with another vehicle or fixed object in the water. In 2017, over 1,500 boating accidents were caused by these types of collisions.
The operator of the boat is not the only person who should be watching for hazards. Designate a “lookout” who can alert the driver if there is a hazard coming up. Negligent lookouts are the second-leading cause of fatal boating accidents, so make sure you choose a responsible and experienced lookout who is committed to keeping your boat safe.
What do you need to look out for when you’re driving a boat? If you can’t answer the question, you might need to go back and do some training, because operator inexperience is the third-leading cause of boating accidents.
Experience includes more than just information about hazards in the water. Improper knowledge on how to handle an emergency situation can cause preventable accidents and deaths.
Inexperienced boat operators may also fail to know the navigational rules on the water. Violating these rules is one of the top causes of boating accidents. The rules when it comes to boating are just as serious as the rules of the road.
Florida requires anyone who was born before January 1, 1988 to complete a boating safety course before they can operate a motorboat. After the course is over, you can get a Boater Education Card (there is not a “boating license” available in Florida per se).
If you haven’t completed this course, we strongly recommend that you sign up. If it’s been a few years since you completed this course, attending again can be a great refresher that keeps you and your loved ones safe this summer.
We want to repeat that the rules of the water are just as serious as the rules of the road. Even if you don’t see signs on the lake with “speed limits,” speed is a crucial factor in boating safety.
How crucial? Excessive speed is the fourth-leading cause of boating accidents throughout the United States.
Failing to slow down while turning can cause passengers to fall overboard or the entire boat to flip over. Half of all boating fatalities are caused by a boat capsizing (or overturning). If you are boating at a reasonable speed, you can prevent your boat from flipping.
Alcohol and Boating
We all know the phrase “don’t drink and drive,” but have you ever heard someone say, “don’t drink and drive a boat?” You probably should be hearing it more often, because alcohol is one of the leading causes of fatal boating accidents.
Almost one in five (19%) boating deaths are caused by drunk passengers or drivers. Just like you appoint a designated driver for the day, you should appoint a designated captain or boat driver who stays sober while the rest of your guests party.
Life jackets aren’t exactly sexy, but they can save your life if you fall off a boat. Three out of four people who die from boating accidents die by drowning.
Of the people who drowned in a boating accident in 2017, 84.5% of them were not wearing a life jacket. Think of how many people could have been saved if everyone had a life jacket on properly.
Weather and dangerous waters can also cause boating accidents, but most injuries and fatalities are caused by negligent boating operators. Stay safe this summer by educating yourself on proper boating etiquette and paying close attention to potential hazards on the water.
Boat operators can prevent hundreds of accidents each year simply by paying more attention and taking their role more seriously. Happy boating, and we’ll see you out on the water!
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
In the height of prom season, across the country, local police and first responders work with surrounding schools, survivors, and other drunk driving prevention organizations to reenact realistic reminders of why teens in their communities shouldn’t drink and drive. One survivor in Illinois recounted his experience of being ejected through a car window after plowing [..]
Cycling is not only a convenient and healthy way to get around in Florida, but it’s widely accepted as an effective means of reducing congestion on the road and improving the quality of our environment. However, the relationship between drivers and cyclists in Florida has always been tinged with antagonism. Motorists often complain that cyclists [..]
We live in an animal-loving society. Most of us interact with pets on a daily basis (ours or others), and they are an important part of many people’s lives. However, it is vital to remember that all animals are, at their core, wild, and sometimes things go wrong. What happens when an animal bites someone? [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
Car accidents can result in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. How is it decided who will have to pay for these damages and bills? In Florida, it usually starts with personal injury protection (PIP). If you experience damages that add up to less than [..]