Speedboat out on the water with 3 passengers

Boating Safety Tips

Living in the Sunshine State, it is no surprise that we are one of the states with the largest number of boat registries in the country. Boats can be a fun way for the family to cool off on a hot Florida summer day – but can pose many dangers if not operated carefully.

There were 62 deaths reported due to boating accidents in Florida last year, and 11 so far this year. The top five leading causes of boating accidents include collision with another recreational vehicle, flooding and/or swamping, collision with a fixed object, grounding, and skier mishap. The leading cause of death in boating accidents has been drowning. This can easily be avoided by requiring passengers to wear a life jacket on the boat at all times – especially novice swimmers, children, and senior citizens. 2013 boat injury victim statistics show that 39% of the people injured were drivers, 60% were occupants, and 1% swimmers. Other victim statistics show that 59% of those injured in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets at the time of the accident.

Although there are many reasons for boating accidents, there are some common factors that can be easily avoided including operator distraction or inexperience, lack of a passenger lookout, machinery failure, excessive speed, navigation rule violation, alcohol use, force of wake or wave, weather, and hazardous waters. Taking care to eliminate these factors significantly decreases the chances of a boating mishap.

Types of Boating Injuries Reported in 2013:

  • Teeth and jaw
  • Spinal Injury
  • Amputation
  • Hypothermia
  • Shock
  • Neck injury
  • Internal injuries
  • Strain/sprain
  • Burns
  • Back injury
  • Head injury
  • Broken Bones
  • Contusions
  • Lacerations
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Trauma
  • Drowning

Boating Safety Tips

When operating a boat it is important to pay attention to your surroundings, just as you would if you were operating a car. It is advisable to take a boating safety course before operating a boat in order to decrease your risk of an accident. Passengers play an important role in boating safety, as they should be on the lookout for potential hazards ahead. To avoid machinery failure, you should perform frequent mechanical checkups to ensure that you’re your boat is in good operating condition. Operators should be responsible drivers. To reduce the chance of a boating incident, operators should not drink alcohol or use excessive speed. Operators should also know the navigation rules of the body of water they are boating on, in order to avoid dangerous situations. Finally, you should always check the weather before boating to avoid hazardous weather and waters, for these have been shown to be major contributors to boating accidents.

Boating can be a fun way to spend time with the family and stay cool during our hotter months here in Central Florida. Know your craft, educate your passengers, and enjoy a great summer!

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