Florida offers so many opportunities for boaters that it can be hard to choose a top lake or beach! In fact, you’ll find boaters on the water in most major coastal regions and even inland. In fact, there’s a Florida Beach Finder to help you scour and secure that perfect location for your next vacation or day trip. The fact that boating is so popular means that it’s even more important to ensure that you’re safe every time you hit the water.
Even when you and everyone on your vessel take precautions, you can’t account for sudden mechanical breakdowns, weather that wasn’t predicted, or the negligent actions of someone else. A boating accident lawyer might be required to help you file suit against the responsible parties.
Florida Boating Accident Statistics
Did you know that there were over 800 reportable boating accidents in Florida in 2020? Reportable accidents include those in which a vessel is destroyed, someone goes missing, or someone is injured or killed.
Annually, accidents on Florida waters don’t just leave behind devastation in the form of injuries, but they can also represent significant property damage. Yearly damage costs for repairing things tied to boat accidents in Florida are over $9 million.
If you’ve already been hurt in an accident, you need a boating accident lawyer to help you. There’s so much to think about post-accident, from the physical damage an accident caused, to the possibility of extensive physical injuries and the associated medical costs. In all of these cases, you must be prepared for what to do next.
If you want to boat without a dangerous incident, it’s up to you to follow these five tips for maximum safety.
Don’t Drink and Operate a Boat
A fun day out on the water with a cooler of beers might sound like the perfect way to unwind, but you don’t want to end up in a boating accident because you were under the influence. You’ll lose your judgment the more you drink and might end up hitting someone else or crashing into the shore or docks if you’re not careful.
Just as you wouldn’t operate a car under the influence, apply those same principles to driving a boat.
Stay Abreast of the Weather
Make sure you have access to a radio with weather updates. The weather can change quickly and can go from a perfectly sunny day to a dangerous storm within a matter of moments. The weather experts are not always correct in their predictions, so you always need to have a back-up plan of how you can quickly and safely get back to shore if needed. Always test your radio before going out on the water in the event that you need to call for help.
Provide and Maintain Safety Equipment
You should always have life jackets and life rings on board. Other things to keep within reach include throwable flotation devices, sound signalers, and visual signaling devices in case something happens to your other equipment. Once before each boating season, look at your equipment and test it to verify it’s working properly and still in good shape.
When anyone new gets on the boat, tell them where they can find the safety equipment, too.
Acquire Boat Safety Training
Everyone on the boat should be aware of basic safety rules. Whether it’s a mechanical breakdown or trying to get back to shore when bad weather appears, the more people you have on the boat with safety knowledge, the better.
There are plenty of boating safety classes you can take to add to your expertise, but it’s also a good idea to do a quick safety training with everyone onboard before you take off, too. Knowing where to find life jackets and other lifesaving materials will make things a lot easier in the event of an emergency because everyone on the boat can react quickly.
Resist the Temptation to Push Your Boat Beyond Speed Limitations
When you’re out on the water with so much to see and do, it’s easy to ignore speed. But speed limitations aren’t just there to keep you safe. They’re to help you avoid accidents with other boats. Even a small increase among safe speed limits could dramatically increase your chances of ending up in a boating accident. Be mindful of your proximity to other boats, too, since your high speed could create a wake for them that could ruin their experience or increase their risk of accidents.
Injured in a South Florida Boating Accident? Cohen & Juda, P.A. Will Represent You Personally
If you or someone you know has already been seriously injured, it is imperative that you get legal help as soon as possible. The Florida Statute of Limitations could expire if you don’t take careful consideration of the legal issues at hand and contact an experienced boating accident lawyer right away. Our law firm has extensive experience handling these complex boating accident claims and can provide you with further information on what to expect. Working with a boating accident lawyer can help you protect your rights as soon as possible after you’ve been hurt. Contact Cohen and Juda, P.A. at 954-424-1440 or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.