Last year, 66 people died in 742 Florida boating accidents. As Fort Myers injury attorneys, we are concerned that many of these tragic accidents could have been prevented—an alarming 53 percent of victims were not wearing a life vest at the time of the accident.
While most drivers “buckle up” before driving their cars and trucks, they often don’t do the same on the water. However, being able to find and put on a life jacket when the need arises is just as dangerous as waiting until just before an automobile accident to wear a seat belt. "In an emergency, there is usually no time to go digging around for a life jacket, let alone unwrapping it and then trying to adjust it so it doesn't fall off in the water," said Joy Hill, public information coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Northeast Region.
"Sinking boats usually go down fast, and people who have been ejected often end up unconscious, so it's extremely important that people wear the life jacket or, at the very least, have it readily accessible. In Florida, the law states that there must be one properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board the vessel and that children under the age of 6 must wear one when on deck or underway.
Children of all ages must wear a life jacket when operating or riding a personal watercraft. While parents will often require children to wear life jackets, they often do not do the same. Many complain that they are hot and cumbersome, particularly when fishing or boating in the Florida sun. However, modern life jackets have eliminated many of these excuses. Lightweight, inflatable life jackets are comfortable and easy to wear.
They are considerably smaller than older life jackets because they are only inflated when you hit the water. So please buckle up (your life jacket) this summer. It could save your life.
The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation.