Boating in Florida can be an enjoyable venture year-round for many outdoorsy water enthusiasts. There are opportunities to catch fish of all kinds, check out wildlife, and enjoy a wide range of activities—including overnight trips and journeys along the Intracoastal Waterway. With all that fun, however, comes a list of safety measures that must be followed to make sure everyone comes back from boating in one piece.
No matter how much experience you may have on the water as a captain or a passenger, avoiding doing these five things while out boating:
- Drinking alcohol – although it may be tempting to get out on the water and party, alcohol and the sun are a dangerous mix, not to mention the safety hazards that may arise after judgment is impaired. Carrying a boatful of passengers who have been drinking is a bad idea—and if you are operating the vessel, be aware that it is illegal to drink alcohol while doing so. Too many boating accidents today—and fatalities—include issues with alcohol use.
- Overloading the boat – a boat brimming full of passengers is often a recipe for disaster, especially in a smaller boat which may be more susceptible to capsizing due to weather or an unexpected, large wake. Know the boat’s weight capacity and aim to stay under the limit.
- Riding in precarious areas of the boat – passengers should be safely seated while the boat is in operation. And although it may be tempting to ride on the bow or near the gunwales, enjoying the breeze—falling overboard and even possibly drowning is not worth it. All it takes is one sudden stop for the boat to hit an obstacle—or a large wake—and passengers may find themselves injured or in the water suddenly.
- Going without a life jacket – if you are a weak swimmer or do not know how to swim at all, putting on a life jacket at the dock and keeping it on until you hit shore is an extremely smart idea. By Florida law, children six and under must wear life jackets while on any boat under 26 feet.
- Failing to listen to the captain of the boat – many passengers are inexperienced, which makes this safety rule even more important. The captain may need passengers to go to the cabin if there is a storm or may need to issue other instructions depending on the area and conditions. The captain may also need help performing routine tasks or taking safety precautions while underway.
If you or a loved one 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!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.