Avoid Boating Accidents: Staying Safe on the Water

Boating in Florida

The beautiful South Florida Atlantic coast and inland waterways beckon tourists and residents to enjoy the sun, sand, and waves.  Particularly in March and April, as the northern part of the country is still thawing from the winter, South Florida is a vibrant and warm respite.  Vacationers, spring breakers, and locals enjoy the South Florida outdoor activities including beach, boating and nightlife activities.

Photo from Miami Hearald - Dozens of boaters are anchored off Key Biscayne during the Spring of 2014, atop an area in the bay known as the Mashta Flats.
Photo from Miami Hearald – Dozens of boaters are anchored off Key Biscayne during the Spring of 2014, atop an area in the bay known as the Mashta Flats.

Boating on the ocean and inland waterways can be a perfect way to enjoy Florida.  When you’re out on the water, make sure you follow boating safety rules so that you can have fun safely.

Boating Accidents

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are over 4,000 serious boating accidents reported each year.   In 2013, these accidents included over 2600 injuries and 560 fatalities.  Alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents (U.S. Coast Guard.) In addition, boating driver distraction, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure were the primary contributing factors in accidents.


Florida has nearly 900,000 registered recreational boats — that’s more than any other state.  During Spring Break, Florida waterways become busier than usual with more boaters out on the waterways, inexperienced drivers, and distracted operators.  However, you can enjoy boating and spending time with family and friends by following a few basic safety rules:

Basic Boating Safety Rules

  1. Always wear a life jacket and require that crew and guests wear them also.  (According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 77% percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned.  The large majority failed to wear a life jacket.)
  2. Never consume alcohol or drugs while operating a boat.
  3. Take a boating safety course before operating any boat.
  4. Understand and follow all boating navigational and traffic rules.
  5. Always operate at a safe speed and be especially careful in no-wake zones.
  6. Supervise children in and around a boat at all times.
  7. Designate a responsible person on board to be the lookout to help avoid potential crashes and minimize distractions.
  8. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by using a carbon monoxide detector, keeping flaps and ports open, and avoiding exposure to exhaust from the boat’s engine or generator.
  9. Keep a fire extinguisher on board in case of an emergency
  10. File a float plan and always tell someone your boating plans.
  11. Review the weather forecast and take appropriate precautions.
  12. Schedule a boating vessel safety inspection with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.  (Certified vessel examiners perform free Vessel Safety Checks.)

For more information on boating safety, visit the U.S. Coast Guard boating website at http://www.uscgboating.org/

Do you have questions about a boating accident?  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can answer them.  Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or www.goldmandaszkal.com.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.,at (954) 428-9333.