In Florida, Memorial Day weekend is a time for fun on the waterways, but it is also a time of increased risk of serious injury or death.
Ten people have already lost their lives in 2013 because of boating accidents in Florida.
The staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC doesn’t want that total to rise any higher.
Col. Calvin Adams, the director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, stated in a news release that Florida is an ideal place to enjoy boating year-round, and that even more people are on the way during the holiday weekend. Boating safely, of course, could result in fewer injuries and deaths.
In recognition of National Safe Boating Week through run through May 24, safety officials and law enforcement agencies in Florida will focus on education and enforcement.
FWC officers rescue approximately 1,000 people every year, and many of these victims are on the water. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky.
In the FWC news release, boaters were being reminded to take a number of safety precautions on the water, such as wearing a life jacket at all times, remaining alert while operating a boat, and designating a boat operator to remain sober. The FWC also stated that inattentiveness is a common cause for boating accidents.
Florida Boaters Should Wear Life Preservers
The most effective way to avoid a Florida boating accident is also the simplest: wear a life jacket.
More than 67 percent of the 55 boating-related deaths in 2012 were attributed to drowning, according to FWC statistics. Most of the drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.
There is a variety of affordable life jackets on the market today that are comfortable to wear and that are easy to adjust. In fact, some are designed to inflate immediately upon hitting the water.
Another safety step is to use an engine shut-off switch. This safety lanyard connects from the ignition to the boat operator. The engine will automatically shut down if this is disconnected or detached, and will potentially prevent a boater who has fallen overboard from sustaining injuries from the moving propeller of a runaway boat.
Col. Adams stated that they want to reach out to as many boaters as possible, and help them realize that almost all boating accidents are preventable.