With the Miami summer upon us, we’re looking forward to enjoying the sun and ocean waves from a boat deck with friends and family. While it’s easy to give into vacation-mentality escapism on these relaxing getaways, it’s essential to keep safety precautions in mind. Here at Irwin Law Firm, we are knowledgeable in cases involving boat-related injuries, and we know the most crucial safety measure you can take to inform yourself of the dangers before heading on your outing. In the event that you need a maritime injury attorney in Miami, FL. please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Be Prepared For Your Sailing Trip
At Miami Irwin Law Firm our cruise ship lawyers put together a brief list of easy tips to keep in mind for avoiding boating accidents, whether you’re on a personal yacht or a cruise ship.
Safety Tips From Your Local Maritime Injury Attorney
- Wear a life jacket
While seemingly a no-brainer, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of this safety measure. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), about 80 percent of boating accident fatalities were not wearing life jackets. The Coast Guard only mandates that life jackets be available and readily accessible. However, making sure all the passengers are wearing life vests before they step on a boat can reduce the severity of potential accidents or emergencies.
- Be mindful of your boat’s propellers
A boat is a big piece of machinery, and the propellers are the most dangerous moving part. To avoid injury, start the engine only after all the passengers have boarded, and avoid sitting near the propellers. The propellers should always be cut if someone falls overboard.
- Don’t drink and drive; drink responsibly
The primary concern of drinking while on a boat is that it increases the likelihood and severity of accidents because alcohol hampers your balance and reasoning capabilities. It’s legal to consume alcohol on board, but it is illegal to operate a boat while maintaining a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above. A blood alcohol level of 0.10 increases the chance of fatal accidents tenfold. Drinking not only puts yourself at risk but also your fellow passengers and other boaters, so do so responsibly or wait until you get back to land.
- Observe your surroundings
Simply observing your surroundings can prevent accidental collisions or a lost course. Awareness is as much a job for the passengers as for the boat operator. All cruise ship lawyers should tell you to keep an eye out for the surrounding conditions and location and to voice concerns.
- Double-check your ship’s functionality and resources
Most inconvenient situations can be avoided simply by double-checking your vehicle’s resources before leaving. You don’t want to run out of fuel or have your engine break down while out in the ocean. If you are not handy yourself or want a double-check, the Coast Guard conducts checks of boat vehicles free of charge.
- Have an emergency plan in place
Falls overboard are considered by the FWC to be the most common boating-related accident and can happen simply due to wave turbulence, wind, or surrounding noise. Following the above pieces of advice, such as wearing a life jacket, etc., can help decrease the seriousness of an overboard accident, but putting a plan in place in the event of such an emergency can prevent a minor situation from turning dire.
In the event of a person falling overboard, the boat’s propellers and the engine should be turned off, and lifebuoys should be deployed, for larger vehicles. If the boat capsizes, the passengers should swim away from the ship, especially if the motor and propellers are still running. Treading water helps conserve energy until a rescue vehicle can be signaled.
- Be informed of your state’s boating laws
It’s best to know what your restrictions and rights are when entering maritime waterways. Cruise ship lawyers even recommend legal familiarity for cruise ship attendees. A boat is still subject to the “rules of the road.” Getting your license may not only be a necessary pursuit but a great way of educating yourself about maritime law and practicing boat operation.
Being mindful of these practices will keep you and other passengers safe, whether a seasoned sailor or new to your sea legs. We mostly want you to plan for your trip regarding resources, safety plans, and pertinent boating laws.
Irwin Law firm is a maritime injury attorney located in Miami, Florida. We are marine personal injury attorneys, cruise ship lawyers, and yacht buyer and seller advisors. Contact us with questions and to learn more about what we can do for you.