With summer approaching, National Safe Boating Week is here to encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the best practices for a safe boating experience.
The 7-day period before Memorial Day weekend is “National Safe Boating Week,” and runs from May 18 through May 24, 2019.
In 2017, the Coast Guard recorded 4,291 recreational boating accidents that contributed to 658 fatalities and roughly $46 million in losses. Drowning is the leading cause of death in 76 percent of boating fatalities, and about 85% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are designed to keep you afloat following an accident and save thousands of lives every year.
Here is a breakdown of Florida life jacket laws:
- All recreational vessels must have at least one personal flotation device (PFD) that is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved and of the proper size for each person on boat
- Vessels 16 feet or longer must have one “throwable” Type IV PFD which is USCG approved and immediately available
- Children under six years old must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times on any vessel less than 26 feet in length that is underway in Florida waters
- Children under 13 years of age on vessels operating on waters outside the geographical boundaries of Florida must wear a USCG approved PFD unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin
- Each person on a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a Waverunner or Jet Ski, must wear a USCG approved life jacket
The following are a few boating safety tips our Pasco County Boating Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled:
- Wear a life jacket that is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. We encourage you to check life jackets here: safeboatingcampaign.com
- Know local and state boating laws
- Consider taking a Florida Boating Safety Course before getting out on the water
- Make sure your vessel is properly prepared before heading out on an excursion
- Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with the U.S. Coast guard
- Prepare a U.S. Coast Guard Float Plan. You can check that out here: http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/
- Always have a communication device ready
- Do not drink and operate a boat
- Follow all navigation rules