Tips for safe boating during the summer season in Florida

Family in Life jackets on a boat on a lake

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and schools are on summer vacation. The summer boating season has begun. Now is a great time to remind all of you out there who plan on boating this summer here in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and throughout south Florida of some important boating safety tips to help keep you, your family and friends healthy and happy out on the open water this year.

Here is a list of 8 boating safety tips that you, your family should follow each and every time you go out on a boat here in south Florida at this time of year:

  1. Do not drink if you are driving or planning to drive the boat. First of all, it is just as illegal to drink and drive a boat as it is an automobile or motorcycle. Furthermore, drinking dulls your senses, greatly increases your response time if something happens. And boats do not maneuver as fast as cars to begin with. Leave the drinking for later.
  2. Check the weather before you go – have an idea what is supposed to happen throughout the time you are out on the ocean. People who have lived here a while already know this, but the summer season on the east coast of Florida sees many afternoon rain storms that also go out over the Atlantic Ocean. If you are unaware or not paying attention, you can be caught in a dangerous rain squall in a relatively short amount of time.
  3. Make a “float plan” and share it with someone. Let at least one other person (several, optimally) know of your travel plans for that day. Include your name, address, phone number, make and model of the boat, departure and arrival time and any stops you are planning along the way.

** There are mobile phone apps available for just this purpose. Here is a list of a few of them from Discover Boating.com:

http://www.discoverboating.com/appsandtools.aspx?c=681

  1. Check the boat for sea-worthiness before putting it in the water. The middle of the ocean is no place to figure out that your boat has a problem that you could have detected before leaving.
  2. Make sure you have all the proper safety equipment onboard. In addition to having and wearing life jackets, make sure to carry at least the minimum required equipment by the U.S. Coast Guard. Here is a list, depending upon the length of your boat: http://www.boatus.org/guide/equipment_6.html
  3. Once onboard, wear a properly fitting life jacket; make sure to outfit any children with life jackets as well. The United States Coast Guard recently released estimates stating that over 80% of the people who died in boating accidents could have been saved if they had been wearing a life jacket.
  4. Ensure the safety of every child on board your boat:
    1. Make sure they have a life vest made for their size
    2. Teach them not to run around the boat; to stay seated while the boat is moving, and to keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times
    3. If they are your children and you plan on having them out on the water with any consistency, have them enrolled in swimming and boater safety classes.
  5.  Watch for swimmers and other smaller water craft. You are in control of a vehicle that can turn into a deadly weapon very easily. You can neither slow down, reverse or maneuver anywhere near as quickly as you can when manning most other types of vehicles, particularly in the canals and Intracoastal Waterway areas. Therefore, you need to anticipate what moves anyone else within your vicinity might make at least 8 to 10 seconds in advance, if possible.

Our Board Certified lawyers from Slinkman, Slinkman, & Wynne, P.A. are the right lawyers to get you the best legal advice based upon your unique set of circumstances when you have been involved in a boating accident or any type of incident out on the water.  We have more than 40 years of experience specializing in protecting families here in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Stuart and throughout Florida. We make sure to ask the right questions of all companies and interested parties in your case. We represent clients anywhere in the state of Florida.

If you or someone you know is involved in a boating accident or any other marine legal issue, contact us at Slinkman, Slinkman & Wynne. We offer a free initial consultation, and we will try to help you through this very difficult and emotional time. Our phone number is (561) 686-3400. Or go to our website at http://www.sswlawfl.com.

Accidents can and do happen. We help our clients and their children obtain payment to cover hospital and other medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more, if the situation warrants it. We also specialize in Slip and Fall accidents, Automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, Wrongful Death & Serious Injury, Medical Malpractice, Defective Products, and many other types of legal situations where injury or death has occurred.

The following additional articles were referenced in the compilation of this blog:

https://blog.boatsetter.com/boating-safety-tips/

http://www.coit.com/blog/boating-safety-tips

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