Whether you own a recreational watercraft or intend to rent a speedboat off the Florida coast this summer, safety should be your first priority. Fun in the sun can turn into tragedy when storm clouds roll in unexpectedly or the big waves push someone overboard.
Many boating fatalities every year are preventable with appropriate safety practices, but a surprising number of people fail to follow the most basic rule regarding safety when out on the ocean or on one of Florida’s lakes. Specifically, they fail to use personal flotation devices (PFDs).
Why too many boaters don’t use PFDs
A boat should never leave the shore without enough PFDs for everyone on board. However, many times, only children actually wear their flotation devices while out on the open water.
The majority of drowning victims who fall from boats do not have a PFD on at the time of the incident. Many adults with moderate swimming skills assume that they can tread water and stay safe in a boating emergency. However, you never know when you might get thrown overboard or caught up in an extreme storm.
The force of hitting the water could render even the best swimmer unconscious and leave them unable to stay on the surface of the water. Only by consistently wearing PFDs while on boats or recreational watercraft can individuals prevent drownings.
While it may not make for the best social media content or fashion statement, putting safety over appearances will benefit you and everyone else out on the water with you. Understanding the contributing factors to common recreational boating accidents can help you avoid a tragic outcome to what should be a fun excursion.