Boating is a favorite pastime of many Floridians. While taking a trip out on the boat with friends and family can make for a great getaway, there are still many risks involved in traveling the open sea.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), approximately 836 boating accidents happened in Florida in 2020. Nearly half of the recorded boating accidents were due to the “operator’s inattention or failing to maintain a proper lookout.”
With that in mind, boaters need to be mindful of safe boating practices. Otherwise, you risk serious property damages, injuries, and potentially death. If you’ve been the victim of a boating accident in Florida, contact The Schrier Law Group today to discuss your case with a proven boating accident lawyer.
Continue reading to learn how you can prevent boating accidents from occurring on Florida waters.
Choose a Responsible Driver
The first step in ensuring a safe boat trip is to ensure that the boating operator is responsible. That means that the motorboat operator should:
- Be completely sober
- Complete the boater safety course and have an FWC identification card (if born after January 1, 1988)
- Know how to operate the boat and what to do in case of an emergency
- Take responsibility for the lives they are taking care of while operating the boat
- Understand all boating and water navigation laws
Choosing a responsible boat operator can help you avoid boating accidents caused by carelessness and inattention. Further, they will know what to do in case of an emergency. Taking a boat trip with an operator you can’t trust is a recipe for disaster.
Know Where You’re Going
The ocean seems like an endless abyss of places to navigate. However, there are some places where you absolutely should not take your boat. They can include shallow water, restricted areas, and places with rougher waters. Further, boat operators should understand how to read the navigation aids on the water (i.e., buoys and beacons) as they tell where to navigate and where to avoid.
Additionally, safely navigating a boat at night requires skill, experience, and knowledge of Florida’s boat navigation rules. Neglecting to adhere to navigational regulations at night can result in major collisions with other vessels or landmasses.
Have the Proper Safety Equipment on Board
Having the appropriate safety gear aboard your vessel can help you avoid accidents, warn other boats of your presence, and potentially save you and your fellow boaters in case of a collision. Generally, a few “must-have” types of boating safety equipment includes, but is not limited to:
- Life jackets and other types of personal flotation devices
- At least one Type IV flotation device (i.e., ring buoy, floating cushion, etc.)
- Fire extinguishers
- Visual signaling devices (i.e., smoke flares and light flares)
- Sound signaling devices (i.e., horns, whistles, and bells)
- First-aid kits
- Devices to help dewater the boat in case of flooding
- Oars and paddles in case the engine fails
Check The Weather Forecast Before Boating
Before you and your friends head out on the sea, you should check the weather forecast. In most cases, you’ll want to avoid inclement weather conditions like high winds, storms, rain, hurricanes, and more. Generally, you can tune into VHF-FM with a portable radio. That way, you can stay up to date on the latest weather information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
You can find the NOAA weather updates on the following frequencies:
- 162.550 MHz
- 162.400 MHz
- 162.475 MHz
Additionally, you should always notice visual signs of weather changes such as darker skies, approaching fog, nearby lightning strikes, and more. You can also use a barometer to gauge the potential for bad weather conditions. Lastly, take pointers from other boaters on the water if all else fails. If you notice that most boaters are heading to dock at the same time, it’s likely that foul weather conditions are on the horizon, and you should do the same.
Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer Today
Even if you follow all of the boating safety suggestions listed above, there is still a chance for an accident caused by another boat operator. With that in mind, if you’ve suffered serious injuries due to the recklessness of another boater, you deserve maximum compensation. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pursue your boat accident personal injury claim.
Contact the best boating accident lawyer in Florida at Schrier Law Group today at 1-800-700-7285 for a free consultation.