Summer is a prime time for boating in Florida and our West Palm Beach boating accident lawyers know that many will be enjoying the waterways on sailboats and motor boats over the upcoming months. Unfortunately, while boating can be a great time for everyone, it can also be dangerous and people die in boating accidents every year in Florida. In fact, a recent article on New Port Richey Patch indicated that there have already been 10 deaths this year.
Boating accidents don't have to cause injury or death if boaters take the proper precautions to avoid becoming involved in an incident and to protect themselves from serious injury if an accident does happen. The Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission has some tips for boaters to stay safe this summer season and everyone heading out on the waterways should pay careful attention to the advice.
Preventing Boating Accidents This Summer
Recently, NBC Miami report that the Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission had stepped up enforcement of boating safety laws over Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial day and other summer holidays including the Fourth of July and Labor Day are times when some boaters take dangerous risks, including boating while intoxicated or boating without proper safety equipment. The Commission hoped to prevent some of these injuries and accidents by monitoring boaters for drunk boating and by checking to ensure that requisite safety gear was on board.
The Commission, however, can only do so much since officers cannot be everywhere at all times. Each boater needs to make a commitment to placing a premium on safety when out on the waterways. The Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission has made several suggestions for boaters in order to help prevent accidents and keep everyone safe. The Commission, for example, recommends the following:
- Every boater should wear a life jacket. While the Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission has reported that around 1,000 people are pulled from the water and rescued each year after a boating accident, not everyone involved in a crash or who falls overboard will find rescue in time. Many of the people involved in boating accidents don't suffer serious injuries or lose their lives because of the crash. Tragically, the vast majority- an estimated 60 percent- die due to drowning. If every boater wore a life jacket, or at least made sure that their life jacket was readily accessible to them while on the boat, then there would be fewer drowning deaths and fewer boating fatalities.
- Always drive sober. Boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous- and just as illegal- as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While you are allowed to have alcohol aboard a boat, the captain, driver or person operating the boat should never consume so much alcohol that he is impaired and unable to react quickly or make safe decisions. A drunk boater puts himself, other passengers and others on the waters in danger. The drunk boater can be held legally accountable for injuring others, but this is small comfort when serious injury or death occurs. It is far better to have a designated driver and avoid tragedy in the first place.
- Use an engine-shut off switch. An engine shut-off switch is a simple device that connects the captain of the boat with the ignition of the boat. If something should happen to the driver and he moves away from the wheel, the engine shut off switch would detach and the ignition would automatically be turned off. This would protect boaters who fall overboard from being hurt by a propellor or a runaway boat since the boat would stop moving. This can also prevent crashes if a boat goes out of control once the driver is no longer actively manning the wheel.
Following these tips can help you to avoid a boating accident this summer season so you can enjoy the warm weather and summer fun without lasting injury.
If you've been injured in a boating accident, contact West Palm Beach accident attorney David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 for a free case review.