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Common Florida Boating Related Injuries

Posted on June 24, 2016

Boating is a relaxing pastime, especially during the summer months. However, it is essential to be aware of the risks and responsibilities. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as boaters and as passengers will make it safer for you on the water.

Florida Boating Accidents

Many boating accidents can be prevented by following basic safety precautions. Some of the more avoidable tragedies are those involving not wearing life jackets and not having flotation devices. According to Coast Guard data from 2013, 84% of boating drowning tragedies were related to not have personal flotation devices (PFDs) such as life jackets. Wearing a life jacket doubles your chances of surviving a boating accident. However, it is not enough that life jackets are available. PFDs must fit and be consistently used. Safety harnesses during open sea boating when crewing are an extra measure you can take for safety. While it is essential for adults to have PFDs, it is a matter of life or death for children. They should have life jackets that fit them. They should never wear adult-size life jackets. Never let a child go near the water or in a boat without a life jacket and never leave a child unattended near water. Leaving a child attended near water is, in many states a reason for child neglect charges, as is not providing life jackets.

Common Florida boating accidents other than drowning include collision accidents, head injuries, and cuts. Not signaling properly, giving the right of way, or other failures to be aware of boat traffic are causes of boating injuries. A common accident on sailboats is head injury from the boom. The boom is a pole along the bottom edge of a sail that is used to steer the boat. This can swing across the deck and cause severe head injuries. Always warn passengers of this hazard while instructing them on safety issues. Other equipment hazards are catching fingers in winches or cleats, and tripping on equipment.

Liability for Florida Boating Accidents

There are many liability variables for boating accidents. Boat owners who do not provide personal flotation devices risk not only being liable for passenger injuries or deaths but, in many states, for illegal boat use especially if children are involved in tragedies. Boat owners who do not maintain their boats or equipment, or who fail to instruct passengers on boat-related safety can be responsible for injuries or deaths. Reckless boat driving or driving intoxicated creates liabilities. Passengers also have responsibilities while boating. Using life jackets, listening to and following boat safety instructions, not interfering with piloting of the boat, and refraining from intoxication are essential passenger responsibilities to avoid injuries.

The lawyers at Farah & Farah are ready to help you if you or a loved one has suffered from boating injuries. Please contact us at (800) 533-3555.