Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and this is typically a time when hundreds of folks across south Florida take to the and ocean in boats, jet skis, kayaks, and canoes. It is also a weekend when law enforcement and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation wardens will be out in numbers checking to make sure that you’ve got enough life jackets on board and that the person operating the boat is not drinking and driving.
The holiday weekend is notorious for increased BWI’s—boating while intoxicated—and, roughly 17 percent of all boating fatalities are alcohol-related. In Florida, 0.08 is the legal blood alcohol limit, which is typically one drink per hour, depending on body weight. Boating while intoxicated yields the same penalties as a DUI on the roadways, and for those on the water, it is just as dangerous.
In addition to safe drinking practices, the North American Safe Boating Campaign promotes the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2014 and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
Water sport activities are popular along the Treasure Coast, so we here at the law firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd want to offer a few safety reminders courtesy of DiscoverBoating.com so that you, your family, and your friends may enjoy a fun and safe holiday weekend and summer.
- Life Jackets: Always carry enough lifejackets on board the boat for the number of people on the water, and it is always good practice to wear a life jacket at all times when out on the water.
- Weather: Here in south Florida, we are constantly reminded of how quickly the weather conditions can change. Keep an eye out for developing thunderstorms and seek shelter immediately if a storm approaches.
- Driving: Only persons with boat licenses should operate a watercraft.
- Plan Your Trips: Let someone who is not out on the water with you know of your intended trip. Inform them of your general route and the time that your outing should take. This can help locate you easier in the event of an emergency.
- Avoid Alcohol: As with any vehicle, it is never okay to operate a boat after drinking any amount of alcohol. The chances of being involved in a maritime accident double with the presence of alcohol.
Just as we practice basic road safety, we have to practice basic water safety in Florida. Being involved in a boating accident can be seriously traumatic no matter the outcome. The law firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd has experience helping individuals involved in an accident. This isn’t just limited to car crashes, but also boating accidents, ATV accidents, and motorcycle accidents. If you or a loved one is injured by the negligence of someone else, contact our firm for a free consultation. Call toll free: 866-460-1990.