In a little less than a week, Gulf Breeze’s summer boating season will begin. While all water vessel’s captains are required to know common boating etiquette and to adhere to Florida laws, many don’t.

Common courtesies that many boaters seem to forget when boating season gets in full swing include moving their disabled boats out of the way so others can get their boats to the ramp.

Others wait to load their coolers, fishing rods and other gear after they have launched their boats.

A boater’s navigation skills can also become rusty during the down season. They have been known to struggle when backing up their trailers, causing them to strike other vessels or occupy the ramp.

Data compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for 2017 shows that one of the primary reasons for boating accidents that year was captains being distracted or not looking out for other vessels. Last year, 38 percent of the 766 total boating collisions that occured were due to one of these two factors. At least 52 more boating accidents occurred in 2017 than in 2016.

Some 67 boaters died last year in Florida. At least 81 percent were not wearing life jackets at the time of their deaths. FWC officials have increased their efforts to warn boaters about this. They truly believe that they can be instrumental in saving their lives.

If you’ve been seriously hurt or lost a loved one out on the water, then a Gulf Breeze recreational boating or personal watercraft accidents attorney can advise you of your right to recover medical expenses or funeral costs in your case.

Source: Tallahassee Democrat, “Outdoors: Preparation is key to boating pleasure,” Jerry Gerardi, May 17, 2018