According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a few common mistakes tend to cause many Florida boating accidents. To prevent the Florida brain injuries and drowning which cause the majority of boating fatalities, follow the FWC’s tips for safe boating:
1) Avoid causing an imbalance in a watercraft. If you are in a canoe or a small rowboat, avoid standing up. This can cause the boat to tip and can cause the boat to get off-balance. Standing up also increases the chances that you will lose your balance and fall into the water.
2) Never drink or use drugs when operating a boat. Just as alcohol causes many fatal Florida drunk driving accidents each year, it also causes a large proportion of boating accidents in the state. If you plan to drink, make sure you have at least one designated boater who is qualified to bring you back to shore.
3) Wear a life jacket each time you head out on the water. While the law does not require you to always wear a life jacket, it is the best practice to keep you safe. In many cases, Florida boating accident fatalities can be prevented by the correct use of life jackets. As well, boaters can face considerable fines if life jackets are not easily accessible, removed from their packaging, and within easy reach of boaters. Where possible, ensure that your life jacket comes with a whistle. In an accident, this simple safety feature can save your life.
4) Take a boating course. No matter what age you are, a boating safety course can teach you tips and procedures for avoiding or surviving an accident.
5) Before boating, alert friends and family where you will be going and when you will be back. This way, if you fail to show up, your loved ones can get help to you quickly. If you capsize or your boat is no longer operational, remain with the boat. Rescuers will look for your boat first, and it will generally be easy to spot. Do not attempt to swim to shore unless you have no other options or unless the shore is very close.
If you have been in a Florida boating accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. With convenient locations in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, the Flaxman Law Group is ready to serve the entire South Florida community. With thousands of successful cases completed and decades of experience, the Flaxman Law Group has the aggressive trial experience to help your situation.