Boating is an exciting activity that can quickly turn into a dangerous one without proper precautions in place. It is imperative to know the precautions that should be taken, and always have a plan in place to keep you and your passengers safe.
What Are The Common Boating Laws in Florida?
Boating laws should be learned through a certified boating course. However, there are some common boating laws that should always be followed.
First, all boats need to have personal flotation devices on board. Children under the age of six need to wear these devices at all times. All boat owners should also be familiar with speed zones that apply to boats, and be wary of vessels excluded signs, as well as no wake areas.
Important Boat Safety Tips
1. Always wear a life jacket
It is imperative to always wear a life jacket while on the water. An accident can happen in the blink of an eye, and it may be too late to reach for one when an accident occurs.
2. Make sure all passengers know how to swim
Knowledge of swimming is a lifesaver in an accident. Boating is a watersport, and it is imperative that each and every person on the water knows how to swim, in case they go overboard, or the boat itself goes down.
3. Always pack the proper safety equipment
The equipment should include a flashlight, duct tape, a bucket, a first aid kit, a whistle, some rope, mirrors, and a fire extinguisher. Duct tape and the bucket in particular may help in an emergency leak, and mirrors and whistles may be used to get other boater’s attention in the event of an emergency.
4. Always plan your route
Blind boating is not safe boating. The water is not for explorers, not without a map. Knowing your route, including alternative routes can help keep you safe. Blind boating can easily result in you becoming lost and exploring in an area you should not be in.
5. Watch the weather
Always check the marine forecast before you go out on the water, and bring the proper clothing to wear for the day. If it happens to be cooler, always bring an extra set of clothes. If it is storming do not go out on the water.
6. Be smart about alcohol
Never drink if you are going to operate the boat in any capacity, or go swimming. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that any alcohol on the boat could be a legal liability against you in the case of a boat accident.
7. Always look before diving
Always look before you jump into the water. Jumping into the water before looking can cause injury, especially if there is something present that you did not otherwise see before. In addition, always jump feet first in the water, not the other way around.
8. Know your environment
It is also important to know what you are getting into before boating. Understanding the normal wave size, as well as the average deepness of the water where you are going. Also, it is important to know the water temperature, as well as any animals that may be in the water and could affect your swim. In addition, it is important to know whether the water is safe to swim in.
9. Check for harmful fumes
Whenever you refuel your boat, always check for odd smells and fumes. If you smell anything do not start your boat. Carbon monoxide can accumulate in closed spaces and cause dangerous situations on the boat, including knocking your and your passengers unconscious.
10. Use common sense on the water
Never do anything stupid, just because its cool. Always stay alert of your surroundings, keep a cautious and normal speed, and always make sure to stay safe when the boat is in motion.
11. Follow proper anchoring procedures
Make sure to understand how to anchor your boat, and always follow them. Never become lazy with your anchoring, it is very easy to accidentally let the boat drift away without notice if such procedures are not followed.
12. Take a boating safety course
If you want to make your boating experience truly safe, make sure to take a boat safety course. You can take one of the many free courses online, such as the one developed by the Boat US Foundation. Knowing the rules of boating is a great way to stay safe.
13. Beware of your boat’s propellers
Always be aware of your boat’s propellers, and make sure to stay away from your propeller when it is on AND when it is off. While a propeller can cause massive damage when on, and you should always give a wide berth when such a device is on, it is still sharp when it is off, and a kick can cause damage.
What Do I Do if I am Pulled Over While on a Boat?
When you are pulled over it is important to remain calm, friendly, and open to the instructions the official gives you. Slow down to a stop and ask the official if they would like you to drop an anchor or turn off your engine. Always keep your hands where they can be seen, and make sure all your passengers are awake, alert and in sight. Make sure to provide all the documents asked for, and follow all instructions.
What Do I Do If I Am In A Boat Accident?
Being in a boating accident is something that you want to avoid by following the above safety rules. But, still, it is always important to have a plan in case the worst-case scenario occurs. Follow the steps below to stay safe during an accident.
1. Make sure you and your passengers are safe
First, make sure that you are uninjured and alright. After that, always make sure your passengers are safe and uninjured. Make sure to account for every person on your boat, to make sure nobody went overboard. If anyone is not wearing a lifejacket, they should put one on immediately.
2. Call for help
Call 911 if possible and inform them of your situation. They will be able to direct you on what you need to do, such as whether you need to move your boat, or you should leave it where it is.
Generally you don’t want to move your boat unless instructed, with the exception of being in danger of another immediate collision. If you cannot call 911, you can contact the international distress channel: channel 16.
3. Make sure all other persons are okay, and contact information if possible
If the collision involves more than one boat, make sure that all of the passengers on the other boat are alright. If everyone is alright, make sure to collect information, including names, contact information, addresses, and insurance information. In addition, take pictures if possible.
Boating can be a fun activity, but it can also be dangerous if safety rules are not followed, and plans are not in place.
While it is best never to be in one, if you find yourself in a boat accident, it is always important to contact a reputable personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Bulluck Law Group has years of experience producing justice for those injured in boating accidents. Contact us for a free consultation today.