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Beyond the Sunshine: Boating Safety Resources for Florida Residents

July 02, 2024
Boat Accident

Florida’s waterways offer endless possibilities for fun, but safety should always be your top priority. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) provides some essential tips to stay safe while soaking up the Florida sun.

Common Boating Dangers in Florida Waters 

Boating has many dangers involved such as unpredictable waters. Florida's weather is known for being unpredictable, with frequent storms making large waves. It's imperative to check the weather before and during your trip making sure you are aware of any possible weather you may encounter and how to handle it. 

Inexperienced boat operators are another danger. Being aware of your surroundings and maintaining a safe distance between you and other boats will help mitigate this risk. 

Falling overboard is a risk associated with boats regardless of where you are. This risk is larger in Florida as the weather can be unpredictable. 

What First Responders See Most Often (And How to Avoid It)

A common injury reported by first responders is cuts and lacerations caused from coming in contact with boat propellers. A good way to avoid this is to remain in the boat while it is being operated. 

In the event of a passenger falling overboard, trying to get back on the boat should be priority number one. If that’s not possible, try locating a spot to hold onto and remember to avoid the propellers. 

Broken bones are often a result from collisions with other boats or nature itself.

Essential Boating Tips:

  • Life Jackets
    • Always wear a properly fitting life jacket. Children under the age of six need a USCG-approved life jacket on boats 26 feet or less.
  • Be Alert
    • Stay focused on your surroundings. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.
  • Designated Boater
    • Boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal. Having a designated sober boat operator will result in smooth sailing.
  • Take a Boater Safety Course
    • A boater safety course will ensure you have all the proper knowledge to safely explore Florida’s waters.
  • Check Your Gear
    • Make sure all safety equipment is present and in good working order.
  • File a Float Plan
    • Let someone know you’re boating plans, including location, arrival/departure times, and how many people you’re with. This helps in the event of an emergency if search crews become involved.

What to Do in the Case of a Boating Accident 

No one expects a day of fun in the sun to turn into tragedy. If you’re involved in a boating accident, the most important thing to do is stop the boat. Start by checking yourself and passengers for any possible injuries and request medical assistance as needed. This is where your float plan comes into play. Alert all necessary authorities of the accident.

Once safely back on solid ground, contact your insurance company and an experienced maritime lawyer to help you wade through the murky water of the legal system.

Mase Seitz Briggs: Your Advocates After a Boating Accident 

Navigating the legal system is already a confusing process, adding in the nature of maritime law will only create more confusion. Our team at Mase Seitz Briggs Law have the experience and knowledge to not only navigate the intricate legal system but also ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to.

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