If you’ve got the boat ready for a weekend on the water, the Coast Guard has a warning for you- Wear a Life Jacket!
The Coast Guard says the July 4th holiday is the deadliest holiday for boaters, so they and Florida Fish and Wildlife units will be out patrolling the waterways this Independence Day holiday in 12-hour shifts, according to a report.
For the same reason you wear a seat belt in a car, a life jacket is a must when there are more people boating, especially at night when it’s difficult to see. Not everyone is likely to be paying attention with the fireworks going off, so it’s always a good idea to have a second observer paying attention to where you are going and looking for any hazards in the water.
Another thing to remember- just like driving a car, don’t drive a boat drunk. Alcohol is a known factor in about 20 percent of fatal boating accidents, so if you plan on drinking, name a designated driver.
Our waters can be very shallow and unpredictable, especially in Intracoastal waters, and tides and currents can make boating a challenge on the St. Johns River.
When out in deep water, running out of gas is a problem for some who are not paying attention. The Coast Guard will be bringing extra fuel containers onboard for those boaters this weekend. And after ten hours on the water – don’t forget about the drained batteries you will need to get back home.
According to the Coast Guard, national boating statistics showed the numbers of deaths from 2006 to 2007 dropped 710 to 685. Unfortunately the number of accidents rose during the same period from 4,967 to 5,191. Over two-thirds of fatal boating accidents involved drowning and of those 90 percent, victims were not wearing a life jacket.
The Coast Guard reports that three-quarters of drowning occurred in boats less than 21 feet. And the majority occurred on boats where the operator had not received safety instructions.
Sixteen children age 12 and under lost their lives while boating in 2007; 29 children in 2006; and 21 children in 2005. Half (8) of the children who died in 2007, died from drowning
With these staggering statistics provided by the Florida boating accident lawyers at Farah and Farah, please have a happy and safe holiday.