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5 Ways Snorkeling & Diving Excursions Go Wrong

May 24, 2021
Legal News

What Happens When You Are Injured in a Diving Accident or Snorkeling in South Florida

Each year, millions of tourists flock to Miami and throughout South Florida. Endless miles of pristine beaches make the area a world-class destination, resulting in high demand for water-related excursions and attractions.

These fun activities can turn dangerous if snorkeling and diving boat operators fail to adhere to proper safety guidelines and provide adequate instructions for guests. Tragically, many of these excursions are not heavily regulated, resulting in severe injuries to tourists. 

Here are 5 ways snorkeling and diving excursions can go wrong:

1. Injuries Caused by Malfunctioning Equipment or Gear

One of the most common ways people are injured on snorkeling or diving excursions is by malfunctioning equipment or gear. A dive shop or the operator of an attraction must ensure that the equipment they provide to guests is in proper working condition. In 2022, Florida Fish and Wildlife issued 659 citations for liveries that rented boats without proper safety equipment, without boater education, or to persons under the age of 18. 

Failure to do adequate safety checks on equipment and gear can result in severe harm or even death. Manufacturers of defective snorkeling gear or scuba diving equipment can also be held liable. Determining the underlying cause of an accident can be difficult. If you are injured while snorkeling or diving, it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. 

2. Failure to Provide Adequate Training or Instruction

For both snorkeling and scuba diving expeditions, there are risks. Snorkeling, however, is generally seen as a much more accessible, less dangerous activity. Because excursion operators require little to no experience, snorkeling accidents and injuries occur more often than people think. 

Of the reportable boating accidents in 2022 in Florida, there were 11 that occurred while swimming or snorkeling. In cases where the operator of a snorkeling trip fails to provide safety instructions or demonstrate how the equipment works, they may be held accountable for resulting injuries.

3. Accidents Resulting From Bad Weather or Murky Waters

The ocean and other waterways in South Florida are unpredictable, but when a boat operator knows that conditions are unsafe and still moves forward with the excursion injury, they must be held responsible. In addition to bad weather, snorkelers and divers should not be taken to high-traffic areas or murky waters.

4. Not Having a Proper Lookout or Divers-Down Flags

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, one of the leading causes of boating fatalities is operator inattention or failure to have a proper lookout. Lookouts during snorkeling and diving excursions are particularly important. A lookout can warn other vessels from entering the area where tourists are below water.

Under Florida law, divers and dive vessels are required to display a divers-down warning device–such as a flag, buoy, or similar device–to notify nearby boaters that divers are in the immediate area. A divers-down flag or buoy must be prominently visible and meet the dimension requirements stated in the Florida Statutes.

5. Failing to Use a Buddy System

When choosing a company to use for your tourist attraction, ensure that they employ a comprehensive buddy system while snorkeling and diving. Many life-threatening snorkeling accidents and dive injuries can be prevented by not going alone.

Make sure the operator discusses what to do if you become separated from your buddy in the water and what to do in the case of an emergency. 

Injured While on Vacation? Contact Our Office Today.

Were you injured while on vacation in Miami or South Florida? Contact Mase Briggs Seitz for a free consultation. Our legal team represents individuals who suffered harm while on a boating, snorkeling, or diving excursion.

Call (844) 627-3529 to discuss your case with a leading attorney. We are dedicated to providing clients with the dedicated, personalized representation their case deserves. Contact us today to get started.

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