Boating Deaths Continue to Rise in Florida: Alcohol Often Plays a Factor

Whether you are a native Floridian, long-time resident, or a return visitor, if you enjoy fresh air and being on the water, boating is usually on the agenda. Travel by the ocean, bay, or Gulf of Mexico means that you can relax and take in an enchanting vista—while also spending time with loved ones and making lifetime memories. Without the proper safety measures in place, however, a quiet day on the boat can turn into a nightmare—even if just due to maintenance issues.

With a safety checklist in place, you can make sure:

  • Engine, lights, bilge, battery, and fire extinguisher are in working order
  • Proper number of life jackets are on board
  • The boat is fueled and has sufficient oil
  • Safety mechanisms such as flares, horn, whistle, and emergency beacons are on board

A head count should be taken of passengers before leaving, along with gaining a sense for who can swim—and who cannot. After checking the weather forecast, you should be ready to leave the dock and have a great day boating. Operating a vessel is a tremendous responsibility that many take for granted—leading to far too many injuries and fatalities on Florida waters; in fact, boating accidents in the Sunshine State rose by a whopping 17 percent last year.

A clear head is critical to safe boating, but alcohol consumption often plays a role in boating catastrophes—just as in traffic accidents. Once judgment is impaired, it may become hard to navigate (especially if there is a lot of boating traffic) a smooth course, as well as get home safely if waters become choppy. If you have over-imbibed, just as in driving on the pavement, you can be arrested and charged—paying large fines and enduring legal consequences that are certainly not worth having a few drinks while outdoors. The greater worry though is that someone could get seriously hurt or killed due to alcohol consumption and boating—and that goes for passengers who are overindulging too, leading to potential for the number one cause of boating deaths: falling overboard and drowning.

An alcohol-free boat is the best route. By stocking up on water, soda, and other non-alcoholic beverages, you not only promote better safety, but eliminate the potential for dehydration during a day in the sun.

If you have been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!