Stay Safe with These Tips from Our Fort Lauderdale Boating Accident Lawyers
The Fourth of July is one of the most popular boating weekends in Florida. And with more and more people using their boat for social distancing, this year the 4th of July is shaping up to be a very busy weekend. Unfortunately, more people on the water in their boats lead to more accidents. The U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate more than one third of all boating related accidents and boating deaths occur on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day.
Here are some safety tips to help you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and happy 4th of July:
- Wear life jackets while on your boat – 80% of people suffering catastrophic injuries or death in a boating accident were not wearing a life jacket. Accidents occur quickly and you usually do not have time to grab a life jacket out of the storage compartment, put it on properly, and be prepared for whatever comes next. Many life jackets offered today are easy to wear and don’t interfere with your normal boating activities.
- Don’t drink and drive – Boating on a busy weekend is no different that traveling by car. If you are going to have people on board drinking alcoholic beverages, have a person experienced in the safe operation of a boat act as the designated driver. An experienced boating designated driver can help everyone on board practice safe operation of the vessel, ensure everyone knows where the safety equipment is located, and get the boat to its destination safely. Keep in mind, your boat is not the only boat on the water that is celebrating the 4th of July. You need a responsible boat driver that can avoid other dangerous boaters that may be operating near you.
- There is safety in numbers – The boat driver should not be the only person looking for dangerous situations that can arise while out on a boat. Areas like Biscayne Bay, Tampa Bay, and the coastal waters of South Florida do not have speed limits. Other boats can approach your boat a high rates of speed. It is important that everyone on board keep an eye out for other boaters that may be approaching your boat.
- Be careful at the fuel dock – The fuel dock is one of the busiest spots during a holiday weekend. Boats are always coming and going, and jockeying to be the next boat in line for fuel. Most inboard and inboard/outboard boats require special safety precautions before fueling, such as opening the engine compartment to release any fuel vapors before restarting the engine. Failure to follow the safety precautions can result in explosions and fires when the boat ignition sends a spark into the engine compartment filled with gas vapors. Be sure to turn off your engine while fueling, and air out the engine compartment before restarting.
- Travel at safe speeds – Boats can quickly get out of control at high speeds depending on the seas you are travelling in, other boat wakes, and the type of propulsion you have on your boat. A common cause of accidents with jet ski riders is the belief that the jet ski will continue to steer after the throttle is released. However, because a jet ski is propelled by a water jet, many jet skis lose all steering when the jet ski is decelerating. Be sure to follow the recommended speed limits on any waterway you are traveling on, and decrease your speed when boating traffic increases.
The Maus Law Firm is Here for You
Following the simple recommendations can mean the difference between a memorable 4th of July with family and friends, or a tragic accident. Practice safe boating operation and you could save your life or the life of your friends and family. If, however, you find yourself the victim of a boating accident, be sure to contact the Maus Law Firm right away. We’ll help you get back on your feet and earn top compensation.