While boating is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family, it is important to practice safety and be mindful when operating a boat, just as you would when operating a motor vehicle.
If you are involved in a boating accident, it is up to you to prove negligence of the other party involved so you can proceed with a negligence claim. Remember, negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care. In that respect, yourself and your lawyer must be able to prove that any damages or injuries sustained were due to the fault of someone else and not your own.
The primary types of boating accidents that will typically occur include when your boat hits another boat, your boat hits another boat’s wake, your boat hits a wave, or your boat hits a submerged rock, land, or another object. When the accident involves two boats, then both boat operators will be at least partly at fault for the accident.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s law enforcement division is the institution in Florida responsible for boating safety laws. Boating accidents become reportable incidents when any of the following criteria are met:
• There is a death
• A person disappears under conditions that may indicate injury or death
• A person has sustained an injury that requires immediate medical assistance
• There is aggregate property damage in excess of $2000
• Total loss of the boat
Boat on boat collisions, according to the FWC, actually accounted for 26 percent of the total of reportable boating accidents in Florida with May being the month that saw the highest number of accidents.
How Can You Better Prepare?
With boating accidents becoming so prevalent, it is important that you take the steps to protect yourself and your property. Accident preparation starts even before the boat leaves the dock. The following are just a few tips to get you ready for your next boating trip:
• Know where you are and where you are going. Stay on top of the current and future weather conditions and take note of any foggy conditions as well that may limit your visibility
• Always be observant and pay attention to your surroundings. Is it high or low tide? Are there other boats in your vicinity?
• Be smart and do what you can to avoid any negative situations. Do not speed, pay attention to where you are going, be observant
• Before leaving, make sure everyone on board has an appropriate life jacket to wear and make sure to show everyone where all the electronic equipment is in case of an accident
• Go over the trip plan with your passengers
• Make sure everyone on board knows how to use the anchor and how to tie the boat up
Following these tips and safety guidelines can help keep you safer while you are out on the water. If you are aware of your surroundings and know what other boats are in your vicinity, you will have a far better chance at avoiding disaster.