Florida has many waterways and this means many opportunities for boating. While boating enthusiasts love this time of year for the recreational opportunities it offers, Florida authorities as well as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) like to remind boaters at this time of year that most boating accidents are preventable. Nevertheless, each year Florida boating accidents cause serious personal injuries, fatalities, and property damage.
According to authorities, most Florida boating accidents are caused by operator distraction, negligence, passenger behavior, speeding, and DUI. Just as in Florida drunk driving car accidents, alcohol contributes to far too many boating accidents in the area. Some experts believe that as many as 21% of all fatal boating accidents are caused at least in part by alcohol consumption.
Boaters may also want to brush up on their skills and boat operation training. According to experts, about three quarters of all fatal boating accidents are caused by operators who lack any formal boating training. Classes are widely available and many are quite affordable, so there is no excuse for ignorance. Life jacket use is also always essential when boating. Statistics show that in most boating accidents, drowning causes the most fatalities. In 90% of these fatalities, life jackets were not worn, making these fatalities very preventable. Life jackets should always be correctly worn whenever near the water.
A good pre-boating check can help prevent many Florida boating accidents. Before getting in a boat, ensure that you have enough life jackets for everyone and insist that everyone wear a life jacket at all times. Check weather and marine temperatures before leaving and avoid boating in poor weather. Just as with Florida car accidents, weather plays a key role in many local boating accidents. Rough weather can cause huge waves, rough seas, and poor visibility.
Before heading out in the water, check all equipment to make sure it is in good shape. Have your boat checked and maintained regularly by a qualified professional. The better your boat operates, the better it will respond in bad conditions. A well-tuned boat can mean the difference between surviving an emergency situation and not. Also, before heading out in the water, make sure that all passengers have good swimming ability. Since drowning is the leading cause of fatalities in boating accidents, strong swimming skills can help prevent tragedy.