In 2012, there were 704 reported boating accidents in Florida and 55 fatalities, reports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC). Boating is a way of life for many Florida residents, including teens, and a common way to kick back and relax.
It’s vital that we help our kids learn sound boating safety tips and skills before they hit the waves to better ensure their safety. Teens need to be aware of proper procedures before they take to the water, whether they are driving the boat or just along for the ride.
Boating Safety Tips for Passengers
Ah…the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the freedom of the open water. Florida teens love it as much as adults. Feeling carefree isn’t synonymous with being careless, though.
To stay safe on the water, tell your teens to keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Never swim without a partner. Your teen may have been swimming since the time he was two, but even the most experienced swimmer can misread the undertow or suffer a surprise cramp. Any unexpected mishap in the water can lead to a drowning accident.
- Learn CPR. Be prepared with lifesaving skills in case of an emergency.
- Do not go out on the boat if the boater has been drinking. Friend or not, drinking and boating is deadly. Don’t partake.
- Don’t overestimate your abilities. Showing off, doing dangerous stunts, or overestimating your swimming abilities can spell disaster when boating.
- Swim in safe areas only. Be leery of rip currents. If “No Swimming” or “No Diving” signs are posted, obey them! They are there for a reason, that being, your safety.
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Boating Safety Tips for Teen Boaters
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 57 percent of all recreational boating accidents can be attributed to operator error, poor judgment, or inexperience. While they may think they can just hop in the boat and go, boating is a learned skill and takes a fair amount of education, training, and practice to master.
Discover Boating – managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) – recommends the following boating safety tips:
- Take a boater safety education course. Contact the FFWCC for info on the Florida’s Boating Safety Education Program.
- Check the weather. Before departure and during your trip, keep an eye on the radar. Weather can change in heartbeat in Florida. If you suspect a storm brewing, get to land quickly.
- Be prepared. Before each trip, double-check that you’ve got enough lifejackets for everyone, a cellphone, and a first aid kit.
- Always have a float plan. Never leave without giving someone (your parents, the marina, a friend) your plan which should include: your name; the name and contact numbers of all passengers; your boat type and registration information; your trip itinerary; and what types of communication and signal equipment you’ll have onboard.
- Get a vessel safety check. You can ask the USCG to come out and perform a complimentary vessel safety check. They’ll offer helpful boater safety information and tips for your boat at no charge.
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Help from an Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
If your family has recently been involved in a boating accident, contact our firm for legal counsel. We handle boating accidents around the Fort Lauderdale area, and are dedicated to helping injured victims and their families get the compensation they deserve after serious boating accidents.
Contact us at Chalik & Chalik today for a free consultation: (855) 529-0269.