The 4th of July weekend is one of the highlights of the summer: barbecues, the beach and friends and family. It’s also one of the biggest weekends for boating. With so many great spots and sandbars in South Florida, boaters and their friends will be spending most of their time on the water. That means more traffic, more drinking and a greater chance of a boating accident.
Boaters have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to boating accidents: not only to themselves and to their vessel, but also to their passengers. According to a report by the US Coast Guard, there were 4,064 recreational boating accidents last year, resulting in 672 deaths, 3,153 injuries and $35.5 million in property damage. Alcohol use was the leading cause of deaths from a boating accident.
With this in mind, it’s important that passengers know how to enjoy their voyage safely. Here are a few tips for passengers to follow to help prevent boating accidents this weekend:
• Pay attention to any safety instructions that the driver/operator provides
• Wear a life preserver and make sure that your children wear one as well • Avoid excessive drinking while at sea • Follow any posted precautionary rules and speed limits • Take added precautions when boating at night • Do not operate a boat if you have been drinking and/or if you don’t have prior experience • Avoid heavy traffic areas and spots known for heavy partying/drinking • If you have been involved in a boating accident, seek medical attention immediately
We hope that you enjoy a safe and fun-filled 4th of July weekend.