Boating Safety

            In Florida boating is a favorite pastime. Grabbing your friends and heading to the lake, gulf, or ocean to relax the day away on the water is a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon. However, there is a possibility of an accident, and it is smart to be prepared to handle whatever might come your way.

            “The most common accident is passengers and crew falling overboard,” which can easily lead to the drowning of a passenger. In fact, “92% of boating-related drowning occurred when life jackets weren’t worn at all or when they weren’t used properly”. In order to avoid passengers falling overboard and drowning, it is smart to make sure passengers, especially children, stay put while the boat is moving. If they have to move somewhere, they need to be careful and hold on while walking. It is safest if all passengers wear life jackets correctly, making sure each fits and is fastened on each passenger accordingly.

            When it comes to accidents, “72% of operators involved in boating accidents had no formal training in the operation of a boat.” There are many courses that you can take that can properly educate you on the operation of a boat. Even if you have been driving boats for many years, you might be surprised at what you have forgotten or have never learned. Such time and effort spent in a course like this could save someone’s life, maybe yours.

            Like when driving any kind of vehicle, consuming alcohol while on a boat could cause some careless and unnecessary fatal accidents. Once alcohol is consumed, the brain and body cannot function as well as it can when not consumed.

The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends

the following safety tips:

* Tell someone when you’re going, who is with you and how long you’ll be away. Then check your boat, equipment, boat balance, engine and fuel supply before leaving.

* Before starting your engine, open hatches, run blower, and most importantly, carefully sniff for gasoline fumes in the fuel and engine areas.

* When changing seats, stay low and near center line of a small boat.

* Always carry life jackets and first aid equipment.

* Watch the weather. Sudden wind shifts, light flashes and choppy water can mean a storm is brewing.

* If you will be fishing, keep fishing and hunting gear clean and well packed. A loose fish hook can cause a lot of pain and ruin a great outing. Bring an extra length of line to secure boat and equipment.

* Never drink alcoholic beverages on a boat. Being “tipsy” can result in falling overboard. Your ability to swim to safety or call for help is greatly reduced as alcohol slows reactions.

Westgate-Jones Insurance Agency ~ 352-787-7548 ~

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