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Boating Safety Tips: Holiday Weekend

With the Florida weather heating up, many people will be hitting the water to enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.  As the boating season begins and the waterways become crowded with vessels and captains alike, the possibilities for accidents and fatalities are at their peak.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, inattentiveness of the boat operator is one of the primary contributing factors in boating accidents, and alcohol was cited as the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

Law enforcement officers will be on patrol this weekend and throughout the boating season, with a keen eye out for violators and on heightened alert for drunken boaters.

If you heading our on the water, here are a few safety tips:

  • Make sure that your boat (and trailer) registration is current
  • Have enough life jackets for everyone onboard
    • NOTE: Florida law requires children under the age of 6 to wear life jackets at all times while on a watercraft
  • Make sure that you have a fully charged mobile phone before dropping in the water
  • Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment
  • Have a designated operator, similar to a designated driver for a night out on the town
  • Be aware of weather conditions

In 2012, almost 70% of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and more that 80% of those were not wearing life jackets, according to a report by the U.S. Coast Guard. This is a tragic example of how quickly things can go wrong out on the water; and how having the proper safety equipment (in this example, life jackets) can save a life.

IIAoA wishes all Floridians a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!