Staying Safe in Florida Waters

Investigators recently determined that crowded waters and reckless boating caused a March 2013 boat accident that killed a Pensacola man and injured his children and grandchild. Trying to maneuver around two vessels at 85 miles per hour, Gary Lowry’s boat was caught in the impact of the boats’ successive wakes and broke into three pieces. Lowry and his passengers, none of whom were wearing life jackets, were tossed into the water. Lowry drowned, but his passengers miraculously survived.

The causes of this boating accident were reported as congested waters, excessive speed and careless/reckless boat operation. These also happen to be among the top reasons for most boating accidents in the United States.

Basic boating safety tips

You can minimize your risk of boating accidents by taking the following steps:

  • Take a boating education course. Educated boaters know how to follow boating rules and safely operate their vehicles. Statistics show that boaters who take safety courses have fewer accidents, injuries and deaths than those who do not.
  • Inspect your boat. The Coast Guard offers a free service for boaters who want to ensure their boats are functioning properly.
  • Do not drink and boat. Boating under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a violation of Florida law.
  • Be ready for the weather. Know what the tides and currents are like and be prepared for sudden weather deviations.
  • Wear a life jacket. Wear a life jacket even if you are an experienced swimmer, because 85% of boating accident deaths involve a person who was not wearing one.

Regardless of the type of watercourse you are on, obeying the boating rules keeps you safe and limits your legal liability.

Boat accident victims in the greater Tampa area may benefit from working with a Florida attorney highly skilled in dealing with negligent boaters and their insurers.

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