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Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer and brings large numbers of boaters to the Fort Myers area. While boating is a popular hobby, it does carry certain risks. Boat accidents are common and have the potential to result in serious, potentially life-threatening personal injuries. Being aware of the most frequent causes can help to protect you and your passengers. 

National Safety Boating Week-Know Your Risks

Boat accidents in Fort Myers happen on a regular basis. This is particularly true during the summer season when serious personal injuries and fatalities are most likely to occur. Each year right before the Memorial Day holiday, the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G. Boating Division sponsors National Safe Boating Week. It is designed to raise awareness regarding common causes of boat accidents and the steps boat operators and their passengers can take to protect themselves. The following are five of the biggest risks:

Lack of Training 

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who operates a motorboat with a 10 horsepower engine or more is required to obtain a Boating Safety Identification Card through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This certifies that you have taken an approved boater safety education course. Even if you already have an I.D. card or do not fall under the requirements, it is a smart idea to take a boating refresher course every few years 

Improper Boat Maintenance 

Any experienced boat owner will tell you that maintenance is important, both to keep your boat running properly and to reduce the risk of boat accidents. Discover Boating advises checking the engine, electrical system, pumps and plumbing, the hull and topsides, as well as moving parts such as hinges prior to each trip. 

Improper Operations 

Adhering to boating regulations and knowing how to handle unexpected situations can help to reduce the risks of boating accidents. Most local residents remember the tragic March 2019 boating accident in Fort Myers in which a woman was killed after the boat she was riding in got stuck on a sandbar. Her husband, who was captaining the boat, made the dangerous decision to tilt up the engines while putting them in gear. The woman fell into the propellers and suffered fatal head injuries.  

Lack of Safety Equipment 

Boating accidents and onboard mishaps can happen to even the safest and most experienced boaters. Insisting on life jackets and having an emergency safety kit onboard helps to ensure everyone is protected. 

Reckless Boating Behavior 

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), reckless behavior is a leading cause of boat accidents. Check the weather forecasts before you go, be familiar with the waterways you travel, and avoid going too fast or overindulging in alcohol. 

Contact Our Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney 

When boating accidents leave you or someone you loved suffering serious injuries, the Bernardo Law Firm helps you get the compensation you are entitled to in a claim. Call or contact our Fort Myers personal injury attorney online to request a consultation today.