Boating Safety Resource Center
Our firm acts as safety advocates for victims harmed at sea, including those involved in boating accidents. Florida has the highest number of boating accidents yearly, and many involve serious injuries and even death. These accidents involve all type of watercrafts including but not limited to jet skis, small boats, sail boats, yachts, pleasure boats as well as cruise ships. It is extremely important to be very careful when operating a motor boat, and to be fully informed about all of the safety rules and available safety equipment when operating any type of vessel. We always encourage enrollment in a boating safety course and to keep current on all boating safety regulations and requirements.
This section of our site is meant to serve as boating safety resource center for those boating or thinking of boating. Our Florida maritime lawyers at Rivkind and Margulies, P.A., have provided some links to recreational boating information we believe to be useful. In addition to the links we provided at the bottom of this page we have a few Safety Tips for Boaters:
- Be familiar with the area, especially when boating at night:
When boating at night, one must be very familiar with the area, and use the navigational charts to determine whether there are any potential unlit obstacles that may be encountered. Unlit jetties can pose deadly risks. The tragic death of Miami marlin baseball star José Fernandez called attention to an unlit jetty that protruded out from the beach at the entrance to government cut in Miami Beach, Florida. Although the jetty can be clearly visible at low tide and during the day, during high tide much of the jetty is hidden. Additionally, at night the jetty is almost impossible to see from a distance, or when traveling at a high rate of speed. Since the tragic death of Fernandez, there has been focus on this particular jetty not being lit, and reports of prior accidents involving this jetty because of the fact that it is not lit.
It is critical in operating a boat that one knows the waterways, either by frequent travel in the area, or by review of the navigational charts. Of course there is no substitute for the navigational charts and they should always be reviewed. In addition, it is very important to stay within the channel markers at all times.
- No drinking while boating:
A boat is dangerous instrumentality that must be operated properly and the rules of the road must be followed. This means that you should never consume alcoholic beverages while operating a boat. According to the most recent statistics, the second biggest of recreational boating fatalities occurred when the boating operator was under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, just like you can receive a DUI on land, you can receive a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) on the water
- Wear a life jacket:
Failure to wear life jackets are attributed as a frequent cause of drowning deaths during recreational boating. These deaths could be easily prevented. Just because you are an experienced boater who knows how to swim does not mean you should not wear a life jacket. About one half to two thirds of those involved in boating accident fatalities in Florida involved men with over 100 hours of boating experience and over the age of 30. In fact, because of the importance of wearing life jackets Florida has launched the WEAR IT Florida Campaign, which is simply to increase the number of boaters on the water who always wear lifejackets.
- Download this safety app:
Last year the United States Coast Guard released it first boating safety app. The app includes: boating safety check requests, state boating information, a safety equipment list, rules regarding navigation, float plans, and a feature that enables the user to call to report pollution or suspicious activity. Additionally, the user can receive the latest weather reports, report the location of hazards on the water and an emergency assistance button which enables the user to call the nearest Coast Guard center.
This list is not exhaustive, but rather just a few safety tips to consider for those who are not only operating a boat but also passengers on a boat.