Pasco County Summer Boating Safety 101: Tips for Avoiding a Watercraft Accident

1388172_helm_ii.jpgPasco county boasts 20 miles of shoreline and various lakes and rivers, making recreational boating a favorite outdoor activity. With the summer months officially here, many residents and tourists alike are taking to the water in boats of countless sizes and speeds. With so many boaters on Pasco’s waterways, it is important to be aware of safe boating practices. Whether you are a sailor, power boater, paddler, kayaker or jet-ski user follow these quick tips to make sure you’re prepared for any type of water emergency.

Pre-Trip Checklist

• Be familiar with the water safety rules and regardless of age, enroll in a boater education course. Remember, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must possess a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater in Florida, which includes personal watercrafts.

• Make sure you have enough life vests and other gear for every passenger on board. In Florida, children younger than 6 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

• Be prepared for a boat fire. Make sure all onboard fire extinguishers have been properly maintained and are fully charged.

• Develop a float plan and leave it onshore with someone.

• Check weather warnings and forecasts before leaving shore.

• Pack a fully stocked first aid kit. Make sure to include antiseptic for cuts, insect repellant, tweezers, bandages, pain relievers and of course, sunscreen.

• Bring emergency supplies, such as maps, a compass, flashlight, knife, whistle, warm clothing, food and water.

• Have a working communication device on board in case of an emergency.

Once on the Water

• Avoid alcohol.

• Adhere to speed rules.

• Stay away from dangerous situations.

• Discourage any reckless behavior from passengers onboard.

• Keep an eye out for low water areas or submerged objects.

• In addition to the boat operator, have a passenger serve as a lookout.

• Do not allow passengers or swimmers near a moving propeller.

• Watch for buoys and water markers.

Boating activities are a great source of fun and relaxation, but it is important to remember to follow the rules and be safe. Should you find yourself the victim of a boating accident, contact the Pasco County Boating Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon after the accident as possible to make sure your rights are protected.

If you have suffered an injury or loss as a result of a boating accident caused by another person’s negligence, contact the Pasco County Boating Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call 727-847-2299. We handle boating accident cases in New Port Richey, Port Richey, Dade City, Hudson, Holiday, Zephyrhills, Trinity, Land O’Lakes and Wesley Chapel.

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