One of the perks of living in Florida is that we have a much bigger window
in which to enjoy outdoor activities. Boating is a favorite pastime for
locals and tourists alike, and while you can pretty much boat any time
of the year in the Sunshine State, things start to pick up noticeably
in the spring season.
Enjoying the beauty of the open water is an amazing experience, but it
is not without its dangers. When a boat operator is experienced, everyone
on board is much less likely to be involved in a boating mishap. On the
other hand, when it is captained by a novice, a boating excursion can
quickly turn into a nightmare.
If you’re not convinced that experience is vital for a boat operator,
consider the statistics: In 2015, over 70 percent of boating-related fatalities
occurred in situations where the operator had not received boating safety
instructions, according to the
United States Coast Guard. Conversely, only 15 percent of boating-related fatalities happened on
a boat with an operator who had received a nationally-approved boating
safety education certificate.
Whether you're new to the boating game or you want to revisit your
boating safety checklist before hitting the water this season, we’ve
prepared a few tips to help ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
First, let’s look at some more boating statistics so we understand
how boating accidents happen.
Boating Accident Statistics
In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available:
- There were 4,158 boating accidents counted by the Coast Guard.
- In those accidents, there were 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and $40 million
of property damage.
- Seventy-six percent of boating-related fatalities died of drowning.
- Eighty-five percent of the drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- The leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents was alcohol use.
- The five leading primary factors in boating accidents are operator inattention,
operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed.
It’s worth noting that four of the five primary factors in boating
accidents are attributable to human error, which means they are preventable.
In other words, these accidents don’t have to happen. Through experience,
safety awareness, instruction and preparedness, we can reduce the number
of boating accidents and ensure that we and our loved ones don’t
become a statistic.
The boat operator bears much of the responsibility in keeping all passengers
safe, but others on board can also do their part by looking out for dangers
and assisting the operator in the duty of captaining a boat.
8 Boating Safety Tips
So, now that we have a clearer picture of why boating accidents happen,
let’s consider the following tips.
Have the boat inspected before the season begins.
Check to make sure the boat has enough gas and that the battery is fully charged.
Make sure your boat operator has received boating safety training. If you
are new to boating and plan to operate the vessel, seek out nationally-approved
Everyone on board should be wearing a Coast Guard-approved life preserver.
Keep safety kits on board and make sure you have enough provisions in case
of an emergency. These provisions should include items such as food, water
Once the boating venture is underway, keep everyone on board in a designated
sitting area to reduce the chances of anyone going overboard or falling
over inside the boat.
Keep everyone on board away from the propeller. In 2015, 150 people were
injured and 27 people lost their lives because they were struck by a propeller.
Avoid drinking alcohol on the boat. The operator of the boat should have
absolutely NO alcohol.
No one wants to be the victim of a boating accident. They are terrifying
experiences that often have dire consequences. We hope these tips will
keep you and your loved ones safe on the water this season.
If you or a loved one has had the unfortunate experience of being injured
in a boating accident, you might have legal options. When an injury is
caused by another person’s negligence, such as an impaired or inexperienced
boat operator, you can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation
for the damages you have suffered.
If you have any questions about this topic, or have been hurt in a boating
accident, you can find out more by discussing it with the Miami, FL, boat
accident attorneys at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. For 45 years, we have
been the trusted advocates for countless accident victims, and we are
highly experienced in handling a wide range of personal injury cases throughout
South Florida. We also work on a contingency basis, which means that if
there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If you wish to learn
more about how our firm can be of assistance, we encourage you to contact
us for a free consultation by calling
filling out a case evaluation form.