Memorial Day weekend is a popular holiday for boaters, and as such, it’s important to remember that while going out on open waters may be fun, the fact that waterways are going to be extra congested means that the chances of a boating accident occurring is much more likely. In fact, Memorial Day is one of the holidays where boating accidents are most likely to occur. So, if you are planning on heading out on your vessel for the holiday, our boating accident lawyers here at LMAW have a few tips that can help you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible during the holiday weekend. Continue reading
Florida is a popular boating destination. The reasons are obvious: miles of pristine coast, warm waters, tropical and sub-tropical climates, island destinations, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming opportunities, and the list goes on. The Sunshine State’s pristine waters offer a range of boating options for all interests and abilities, from skilled sailors to weekend fishing expeditions. However, as any boating accident lawyer at our firm well knows, these activities can also lead to injuries in open waters.
Before heading out on a vessel in Florida, boaters should be fully aware of current safety laws in order to protect themselves and passengers from an accident or injury.
In order to ensure that boaters stay safe when they hit the water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has established boating laws that every boater should know before venturing out on a vessel. Knowing these laws is especially critical as we move into the busy summer season, when there will be a greater number of boaters and heavy traffic in open waters.
Our boating accident lawyers here at LMAW often discuss some of the important safety factors to consider while sailing in open waters, in order to prevent an injury. Here in Florida, we tend to have a higher number of boat accidents due to the fact that we are surrounded by water. However, boating accidents can occur anywhere and anytime.
In 2012 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard reported over 4,000 boating accidents leading to over 600 deaths. 3000 people were injured as a result of these accidents and boating accidents cost citizens over $38 million in damage to property and personal injury costs. The Coast Guard released a summary of the factors contributing to these accidents, which can help boaters avoid a tragedy while sailing.
Among the top contributing factors to accidents, boater inattention tops the list. This led to over 500 accidents and over 40 deaths in 2012 alone. Inexperience, machinery failure, and excessive speed were also to blame for accidents, as was alcohol intoxication. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by avoiding these unsafe actions.
The most common types of boating accidents are collisions, flooding, and groundings. However, many of these incidents can be avoided by paying careful attention to one’s surroundings and having a keen awareness of local boating laws. One way to prevent an accident is for boaters to use up-to-date maps, which will show areas that can pose a potential grounding hazard, such as areas where there are a large number of reefs. Because sea conditions can change based on the tide, season, or even due to shifting sand, boaters should take the time to understand the unique conditions of the areas they are visiting and avoid those that are more high-risk. Technological advances can also provide boaters with up-to-date underwater topological information. Boaters should also use caution when sailing in waters that are known to be shallow, and maintain a prudent speed at all times.
Our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW have recently learned of a terrible tragedy in the Mediterranean. According to news reports, a 70-foot boat capsized around midnight Sunday just south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, carrying over 700 migrants who were being smuggled from Libya to Europe. The accident occurred as a large merchant ship approached the small vessel. So far, only 28 victims have been rescued and 24 have been confirmed dead.
According to news reports, several maritime authorities have been called to action to assist in the rescue mission, including the Italian navy and coastguard, the Maltese Navy, and several others. Following the maritime tragedy, the International Organization for Migrants explained that three other migrant vessels sailing in international waters may also be in distress as of the moment. So far, two of the victims who were rescued have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after arriving in Sicily.
The International Organization for Migration Already also explained that this year alone, over 35,000 migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in an attempt to flee the turmoil and crisis in their homelands, many of which are migrating from sub-Saharan Africa. And out of the 35,000 migrants, over 900 are believed to have died while trying to seek a better life. Desperate to escape their situation, the migrants are exploited by traffickers organizing the voyages to Europe and charging migrants exorbitant fees.
Now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to start getting your boat ready for the water. While a through cleaning and system check is essential, making sure you have the appropriate safety gear can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW have a few tips that can help you stay safe while out in open waters. Let’s take a look.
One piece of safety gear that is particularly important is the ditch bag. A ditch bag is a small floating bag that holds crucial safety gear. In an emergency, the bag can be tossed into the water or into a safety raft. By having all your key safety equipment in one place, the ditch bag offers you a safe and efficient way to store and manage safety equipment on board your boat.
Boating with your kids can be a great way to connect. By giving children age-appropriate responsibilities, they can not only learn how to be safe boaters themselves, but also gain important leadership experiences they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Yet, before parents go out and share their love of boating with their children, there are some things to know and do. Check out these five important safety tips from our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW that can help reduce the chance of your children getting hurt while in open waters.
Make sure your kids (and everyone on your vessel) wear a life jacket
First and foremost, when heading out on a boat trip with kids, make sure children have an appropriate, fitting life jacket and make sure that children (and everyone else on the boat) wear them while out in open waters. A life jacket that may have fitted your child last boating season may be too small this year, so make sure you are properly equipped. Children’s life jackets should be able to turn the child over so that if the child lands in the water, they won’t remain face-down. Ideally, you should choose brightly colored jackets that will increase the child’s visibility should they fall in the water, as well as life jackets that are equipped with a whistle, so they can signal for help.
In our last blog, our boating accident lawyers discussed one of the most common, yet treatable conditions that can arise at sea and pose a deadly situation for boaters – heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion results when an individual becomes dehydrated while experiencing hot temperatures. But while it can be fatal if left untreated, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and understanding the steps that can be taken to both treat and prevent this condition can lead to a successful recovery. The same applies to other common conditions that boaters may face while out in open waters.
On the other end of the spectrum from heat exhaustion is another condition that can threaten the lives of boaters – hypothermia. Hypothermia results when the body’s temperatures cool down to dangerous levels. This can happen, for example, if a boater falls into cold water.
Our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW recently discussed the importance of learning CPR and first aid techniques before going out into open water. These techniques can keep boaters and their passengers safe while also ensuring that boaters are self-reliant when they head out to remote areas on their boats. Heart attacks, drowning, and excessive bleeding are extreme medical emergencies that require stabilization of the victim and then hospitalization. Yet, there are some more common medical situations boaters might encounter while at sea that are both easily preventable and manageable—if caught early.
One of the most common conditions that individuals sailing on a boat may face is heat exhaustion. While this is actually a condition that can be treated successfully if caught in time, unfortunately, not many people are aware of the simple steps they can take to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the ways heat exhaustion can be treated.
First, it’s important to actually understand what heat exhaustion is. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person suffers from dehydration while experiencing hot temperatures: conditions that can easily arise when people are riding on a boat. Continue reading
The word conjures images of the worst-case scenarios that can happen at sea: a passenger is overboard, the boat is sinking, there’s a fire, or someone on board has fallen seriously ill. No one likes to think about these terrible scenarios, but as any boating accident attorney at our firm can tell you, knowing what to do when disaster strikes can mean the difference between life and death.
Knowing how to properly call for mayday is a key skill for any boater to have. It can ensure that the Coast Guard is dispatched swiftly and arrives quickly to help you and your crew in the event of an emergency. Continue reading
Boaters may not realize it, but when they leave the shore and head out into open water, they are venturing out into a wilderness situation where help can be miles away and where self-reliance is key. There are many basic things boaters can do to be safer, among them requiring all passengers on board to wear safety vests and also ensuring that the boat has all required safety equipment in accordance with current Coast Guard regulations. One additional thing that boaters can do to be safe and keep those around them safe is to learn CPR and first aid skills.
CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a form of first-aid that is administered to a victim whose heart has stopped. While a great majority of heart attack victims die before they reach the hospital (92%), The American Heart Association suggests that many more of these victims could have survived if people around them had known CPR techniques. For heart attack victims, CPR allows blood to keep flowing to the brain, ensuring that the brain stays alive, even after the heart has stopped. If a person can be kept alive long enough for doctors to discover what is blocking or stopping the heart, the person has a far greater chance of survival. If a heart attack victim receives CPR, his or her chances of survival increase by twofold or even threefold amounts. Medical advances in heart care make it possible for medical practitioners to keep victims alive in the hospital long enough to discover the heart problem, and, if possible, fix it. Unfortunately, many heart attack victims arrive at the hospital dead because those around them were not able to administer immediate first aid.
When individuals go out on boats, CPR training is even more critical because help can be miles and sometimes hours away. The American Heart Association reports that as many as 70% of Americans don’t know how to react in a cardiac emergency. Unfortunately, many of these emergencies take place at home or at places where immediate medical care is unavailable.