While boating is a year-round activity here in South Florida, summer will see even more boaters hitting the water. From cruise ships to catamarans; Florida is home to some of the nation’s best boating spots—and for good reason. Florida has over 600 miles of sandy beaches and 1,200 miles of breathtaking coastline. Throw in the more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and waterways and 7,700 lakes, and you have a recipe for some incredible boating adventures.
Florida is home to more than 900,000 boats, from large fishing vessels to sailboats. Yet while boating can be a relaxing and wonderful way to enjoy the sun and water, it can also be dangerous—especially when the proper safety precautions are not taken. Every year more than 4,500 boating accidents occur, leading to hundreds of deaths and numerous injuries.
In order to stay safe this summer, safety experts urge everyone to take the following precautions when boating:
- Never drink alcohol while operating a boat. The sun can intensify the effects of alcohol, and be sure your passengers are not drinking too much. Alcohol is responsible for 17% of all boating deaths.
- Have passengers wear a life jacket—even if they can swim. Dangerous currents and undertow can pull even the best swimmers under. To prevent drowning accidents, have all passengers wear a life jacket. In fact, 84% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time.
- Do not speed. Just like automobiles, boaters need to use safe speeds for the occasion. Especially in crowded marinas or in areas where swimmers are present, be sure you are using a safe speed, so you can maneuver easily to avoid accidents.
- Pay attention. Distracted driving is a serious issue. Boat operators who are playing with smartphones, texting, or performing other tasks while driving may inadvertently hit a sandbank, another vessel, or a swimmer in the water.
Have you been injured in a serious boating accident? The Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Kelley/Uustal have been representing accident victims in South Florida for more than 200 years combined. Contact our office today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.