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Common Causes For Boating Accidents In Florida

Common Causes For Boating Accidents In Florida

On the lakes across the United States during the summer months, or any time in the great state of Florida, boating has become a past time for many. While boating accidents are much less common than car accidents, they still do happen. In 2018, the number of boating accidents in the state of Florida reached 608, the highest number of recreational boating accidents in the United States. In 2019, those numbers climbed up to 723 accidents. In this week’s blog, we will be talking about the most common causes of boating accidents, the different steps that you can take to avoid them and prevent a boating accident from occurring, and other safety tips to keep you and your passengers safe while on the water.

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

Common Causes For Boating Accidents In FloridaAlcohol is never a great idea when it comes to operating a motor vehicle of any kind, whether it be on land or in the water. Not only that but piloting a boat while intoxicated is against the law. In the state of Florida, operating a boat automatically gives officers the consent to test you for alcohol or drug consumption. Additional penalties can occur if you refuse to be tested. The federal limit to operate a vehicle or boat is a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08% g/dL. This limit applies to any kind of boat, including kayaks, canoes, and pedal-operated boats. Alcohol greatly impairs your judgment and ability to react quickly in an emergency. Other factors such as being in the sun and the movement of the boat itself can amplify the effects of alcohol. To prevent alcohol consumption from being a cause of a boating accident, avoid drinking before or while boating. 

Check For Equipment Failure

When boat owners fail to properly maintain and inspect their vessel before using it, their negligence could cause a catastrophic boating accident. As a boat owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your boat is properly maintained and that your boat is properly working before thinking about taking it out onto the water. Regularly checking the steering, rescue capacity, engine, communication system, and navigational lights will guarantee a safe, worry-free time on the water. If you’re unsure about the condition of a specific boat part or are inexperienced with inspecting your boat, you can take it to a professional to help you out.

Gain Experience Before Boating Alone

One of the leading causes of boating accidents is a boater who doesn’t have the experience or confidence to operate a boat. Florida law requires that in order to operate a boat, one must be over the age of 14. The law also requires that anybody who was born after January 1, 1988, is to pass a boating safety course on top of being 14 and older. If you feel that you don’t have the experience necessary to safely operate a boat, it is possible to take additional boating safety courses to make sure that you have the skills and experience necessary to safely operate a boat.

Boating Negligence

As with operating a motor vehicle on land, boating requires the full attention of the operator at all times. Just like with a vehicle, it’s important to avoid certain dangerous situations such as distracted boating, boating while under the influence, and fatigued boating in order to avoid an accident. Always make sure that you pay attention to the rules and regulations of the area in which you are boating including traffic laws while boating in crowded areas to ensure that you don’t end up being the cause of a boating accident.

Other Safety Tips While Boating In Florida

Additional to the ways of avoiding boating accidents as mentioned above, there are other safety tips that can help boat operators and their passengers ensure that they will have a fun and safe time while out on the water. Boating safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it should be up to everyone on the boat, not just the operator, to ensure that the boating adventure goes as smoothly as possible. Some of the other boating safety tips include but are not limited to:

  • Check The Weather- Keeping an eye on the local forecast will let you know if the weather will be optimal for boating. Avoid hitting the water if there is a storm forecasted for that day. If you’re out on the water and a sudden squall appears, head to shore as quickly and safely as possible to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers.
  • Be Prepared- Before going on a boating trip, let somebody know that you will be going, who you are going with, and how long you plan to be out. This way if something goes wrong, that person can alert authorities in ample time to ensure a quick rescue if necessary. Keep a checklist of all of the safety equipment and other necessary items to help you remember everything.
  • Enforce Life Jacket Safety- The majority of fatalities while on the water happen to those who do not wear a life jacket while boating. Every person on the boat should wear a life jacket, no questions, and no exceptions. Ensure that each life jacket on the boat is approved by the U.S Coast Guard and that they fit snugly on the wearer.

Working With A Boating Accident Attorney In Florida

Being a victim of a boating accident is a serious matter. At Sheftall Law, we understand how serious and scary it is to be in a boating accident. Lost wages from having to miss out on work and hospital bills building up is an added stressor that you don’t deserve. With decades of combined experience, we have the legal knowledge necessary to take care of your needs and rights in these trying times and we will stand by your side until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Florida, please contact a boating accident attorney at Sheftall Law at (904) 569-6025 today to explore the legal options that are available to you.