How to Prevent a Boating Accident this Summer

Summer is on its way, and that means it’s time to refresh your boating safety knowledge to avoid a boating accident. When planning your next boat trip, boating accidents probably aren’t something you want to think about. However, it is critical to be prepared before setting sail this summer. We want you to have an unforgettable time on Florida’s waters ultimately.

At Carpenter & Czelusta, we know the importance of boating safety all too well. That’s why we share the top advice on avoiding a boating accident with you.

The last thing we want is for your relaxing day on the water to turn into a devastating event. Continue reading to get familiar with the safety measures that must be taken seriously when boating on Florida’s waters.

Boating in Florida

Florida’s waters are pure paradise. That is when observing the correct precautions. Like any other natural thing, we don’t always make the calls. Florida-born residents especially can become overconfident on the water, leading to mistakes that wouldn’t have occurred if the correct precautions were taken. For instance, some of the most significant issues are wearing life jackets and being wary of rough weather approaching.

In 2020, the reports were appalling. Granted, there was an increase in people and vessels in the water due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, 866 boating accident cases were counted, where 79 deaths and 534 injuries occurred.

With the pandemic still present and much of the resulting lifestyle habits become second nature, we can expect to continue to see more people out on the water than in past years. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that Florida residents and tourists know everything there is to know about boating safety.

What Causes a Boating Accident?

Of course, many factors can lead to a boating accident. However, some causes take the lead. The following are some of the leading causes resulting in boating accidents:

  • Operator error, like negligence, inattention, or inexperience
  • Neglecting looking out for those in the water, such as skiers and swimmers
  • Intoxicated boat operator
  • Speeding
  • Mechanical failures

8 Tips for Preventing Boating Accidents

1 | Have all the Right Safety Gear

Onboard, you should have the proper safety gear before setting off into the open waters. First and foremost are the life jackets. There should be a snug-fitting life jacket for each passenger aboard. This is especially important for children. Simply providing them with an adult-sized life jacket does not suffice. It’s a good idea to purchase various jacket sizes if you often have guests on your boat to ensure everyone will always have the correct size.

You also want to have a first-aid kit and other emergency supplies stored in a dry and enclosed location on the boat. Boat lights, an anchor, and a fire extinguisher are just some examples of the necessary gear to help prevent boating accidents and keep you and your nautical guests safe.

2 | Keep a Close Eye on the Weather

At times, there is little we can do but be prepared and make the best decisions possible. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to boating in Florida’s unpredictable weather. Boating accidents resulting in severe injuries and even death occur due to harsh weather and water conditions every year.

Be sure to check the weather and water reports before setting out to sea.

And if you are on the fence about whether conditions are suitable for boating that day, it is best to reschedule your trip and not take the risk.

Furthermore, continue checking the weather and water conditions while aboard the boat. In the sunshine state, rough weather can seemingly come out of nowhere. So, be prepared and check the conditions before and during your time on the water.

3 | Take a Boating Safety Course

A shocking percentage of boating accidents involve boat operators who never completed a safety course. It is critical to know the correct safety measures when navigating the open waters.

A typical course will teach the operator how to properly control and navigate the boat, read the weather, and implement the proper safety measures in the case of an emergency.

So, take this step seriously to prevent a boating accident this summer.

4 | Remain Sober While Operating the Boat

This may sound like common sense, but you may be surprised to see how many accidents are caused by intoxicated boat operators. Not only is it against the law to drink while operating a boat, but it puts everyone on board at risk, too. In fact, it even compromises the safety of those sharing the water with you, like other boaters, jet skiers, and swimmers.

Plus, the hot sun and salty air heighten the effects of alcohol. You may be casually sipping on a beverage. Before you know it, you’re no longer able to operate a boat. The best thing to do is leave the alcohol on land. After all, you may find that the open air and tranquil waters are more than enough to have a good time.

5 | Take Caution When Loading the Boat

When loading the boat for your trip, you want to be careful to do so safely and with the boat’s limits in mind. A boater can overload the vehicle all too easily, potentially resulting in capsizing.

Additionally, there have been reports of improper anchoring leading to an accident. In whatever case, be sure to thoroughly read through your boat’s guidelines and limits and carefully follow the instructions to avoid a boating accident.

6 | Research the Water Before Boating

Navigating through the waterways is a lot easier when you know where you are going. Yet, many people don’t think about the importance of getting familiar with the area before setting sail. The last thing you want is to get lost in the open ocean. So, take some time to look at videos, maps, and charts about the area you plan to visit.

7 | Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

As the boat operator, the safety of the passengers falls almost entirely in your hands. So, while operating the vessel, it is essential not to be distracted by passengers or other diversions. You need to remain focused entirely on the boat, weather, water, and other vessels nearby.

This summer, don’t let something as simple as a distraction cause a boating accident. Keep your eyes on the water and your mind on the boat’s operation.

8 | Obey the Speed Limits

There is never a valid reason to be speeding on water. It is critical to your and your passenger’s safety to follow the speed limits. Furthermore, you want to consider the current weather and water conditions. All three factors- speed limit, weather, and water- have an essential role in the proper and safe speed.

Additionally, be sure to take turns and more complicated maneuvers, such as docking, slow, and with caution. There’s no need to rush when relaxing in Florida’s stunning waters. Take your time and put safety first.

Count on Carpenter & Czelusta

If the unthinkable happens and you find yourself in a boating accident, call Carpenter & Czelusta. We are your experienced dual-expertise team located right here on the Florida coast. And unfortunately, boating accidents happen each day. Let us help you get the justice and support you deserve.

We are here for all your legal needs, providing excellent professionalism and care.

Need a lawyer? Contact Carpenter and Czelusta.

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