Florida boating accidents not only claim lives every year, but they also cause many injuries injuries, ranging from brain injuries, burn injuries, fractured limbs, spinal cord injuries, and even permanent disability. You can often prevent a boating accident simply by following these tips before you head out on the water:
1) Check your personal flotation devices and life jackets to ensure that they are in good condition. There should be no tears, broken straps, broken snaps, or rips anywhere on your life jackets or flotation devices. If there are any equipment issues, make sure that you replace the items rather than heading out onto the water. Also, make sure that all personal flotation devices are close to you and ready to be used. Avoid locking them away in compartments or sealing them in plastic bags, as you will lose precious time if there is an accident. Also, make sure that you are wearing a life jacket on your boat as soon as you enter the water.
2) If your boat has a closed compartment or a motor, make sure that you have a fire extinguisher on board. Before you head out on the water, make sure that you can easily reach the fire extinguisher if needed, and make sure that the fire extinguisher is in good working order.
3) Before your boat leaves the dock, test your boat lights. If your lights are battery-operated, make sure that there are extra batteries on board. Even if you plan on being back before dark, it is a good idea to get into the habit of testing your boat lights. Sometimes, unexpected events may change your plans and you don’t want to be stranded out on the water without adequate lighting.
4) Check the weather reports before leaving the house. Make sure that there are no lightning flashes, choppy waters, or sudden wind shifts, all of which can indicate a storm. Make sure that you have a portable radio on board so that you can listen for the latest weather report. Be ready to head back to shore at the first sign of a storm.
5) Check to make sure that you have a good emergency kit on board. This kit should include first aid supplies, maps, and flares. Ideally, keep your first aid emergency kit in a floating couch that is easily accessible even if your boat is capsized.
6) Call a friend or family member and let them know where you’re going, how long you’ll be out, and when you will return. This will insure that if there is an accident happens, someone will be aware of your location and will be able to help raise the alarm if you are not back on time.
7) Make sure that you’re sober and alert before heading out on the water. The motion of the waves, the sun, and the winds can make you feel more sleepy and drowsy, so make sure that you feel very alert and make sure that you don’t have any alcohol in your system.