Navigating South Florida waterways can be dangerous to manage, especially when the operator of the vessel is inexperienced and inattentive. Regardless of the size and type of the operating vessel, any degree of negligence may lead to potential accidents, injuries and/or death. To avoid potential injuries, take a look at the primary contributing factors that more often than not lead to boating accidents:
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use
- Violation of navigation rules
- Machinery failure
- Hazardous waters
- Heavy weather
Additional data from the United States Coast Guard show that Florida continues to rank as the leading state for the highest boating accidents resulting in injury or death. Summer may be behind us, but South Florida remains a busy boating destination all year long. Therefore, the operator of any vessel must be attentive and educated on boating safety. Here are a few steps to safety:
- Have a Float Plan. Before you head out, notify close family or friends of your whereabouts including where you will be and when you plan to return.
- Check the Weather. To check sea conditions, we recommend visiting NOAA.
- Conduct a Vessel Safety Check. The U.S. Coast Guard offers complimentary Vessel Safety Checks with no penalty or fines if you do not pass. Click here to request a free Vessel Safety Check.
- Wear an Approved Life Jacket. A Boat must carry U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jackets for each person on board. Life jackets save lives and should be taken seriously. Visit this link for more information on types of approved life jackets.
- Call the U.S. Coast Guard on Channel 16 VHF-FM. Calling the Coast Guard on Channel 16 is the quickest way to get help in the case of an emergency or any immediate danger.
It’s important to keep these tips in mind the next time you plan on boating. In the event of an accident, preparation is key. If you or someone you love has been injured due to negligence on a boating vessel, our legal team can help provide you with a proper understanding of the legal system and your rights.