Boating Safety: Know What to Do in the Event of Capsizing

Whether you are a continually returning visitor or a resident, you have probably enjoyed boating in Florida at least once or twice. The beaches, bays, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean are all very alluring—and it can be hard to turn down a day of cruising, along with so many different activities that accompany boating like skiing, wake surfing, fishing, and more. With around 12 million recreational vessels registered in the US—and usually just under one million of those registered to boat owners in Florida—the waterways are busy.

Amidst all the fun to be had in the boat—and in the water—safety hazards abound. And although many issues can be easily warded off with a comprehensive checklist to be followed before each trip, some accidents occur due to conditions on the water or the captain’s error. The most common boating accidents happen due to carelessness (for example, the boat plug—an essential item—may be left out), excessive speeds, alcohol or drug use, weather issues, and large waves or wakes that can cause a boat to capsize.

Capsizing leads to a complete loss of control for those in the boat, and usually means being tossed in the water. Because of that, it is one of the most nightmarish scenarios. To avoid capsizing, there are numerous safety measures you can take:

  • Don’t overload your boat with people.
  • Prohibit passengers from riding on the bow, sides of the boat, on tops of seats, or other areas where they would be situated precariously.
  • Make sure weight is balanced evenly in the boat.
  • Avoiding speeding when making turns.

If you find yourself in such a situation, however, there are several important steps to remember:

  • Once you come up for air, be sure to grab on to something for flotation if you are not already wearing a life vest.
  • Do a headcount and try to account for all passengers, as well as tossing them a flotation device if possible.
  • Try to climb back on board the boat if it is still floating or available enough to hold onto for safety, even if just temporarily.
  • Focus on treading water or floating if you do not have a life jacket and the boat has floated away. Look for anything possible to hold onto.

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.