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Boating accidents often lead to drowning victims in Miami, Fort Lauderdale

NBC Miami recently reported on a near tragic boating accident near Miami.

Our Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyers know that in 2009 Florida led the nation in boating accidents with 620 and we also had the most registered vessels with 982,470.

Three men are lucky to be alive after their boat sank near West End in the Bahamas. The three boaters had left Boynton Beach in their 35-foot boat; it is still unclear why the boat sank. When the vessel began taking on water the men put on their life jackets and activated a personal locator beacon signal. The Coast Guard Cutter Bluefin found the three men, hungry and cold clinging to a water cooler.

“These boaters survived a potentially fatal accident because they were prepared,” Capt. Chris Scraba, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Miami, said in a release. “They immediately donned life jackets, which allowed them to stay afloat until they were rescued and they activated their PLB, which provided the Coast Guard precise location information.”

Well over half of Florida’s reportable boating accidents in 2009 occurred in these 10 counties:

-Monroe County had 3 fatalities and 77 accidents.
-Miami-Dade County had 4 fatalities and 62 accidents.
-Palm Beach County had 3 fatalities and 56 accidents.
-Pinellas County had 4 fatalities and 45 accidents.
-Broward County had 30 accidents.
-Collier County had 27 accidents.
-Lee County had 1 fatality and 24 accidents.
-Hillsborough County had 22 accidents.
-Volusia County had 5 fatalities and 20 accidents.
-Bay County had 2 fatalities and 20 accidents.

According to the Coast Guard more than 75 percent of boating fatalities are caused by drowning, not injuries. The three boaters were prepared which the Coast Guard says contributed to the positive outcome of this incident. They all donned their life jackets quickly, they were able to stay afloat and turning on their personal locator beacon (PLB) allowed the Coast Guard to find them a lot faster. The Coast Guard reports over 90 percent of drowning victims when found are not wearing life jackets.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suggest these safety tips:

-You can never have too many safety devices.

-Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Filing a float plan will make finding your location easier in the event of an accident.

-Never drink and operate a boat, assign a designated operator.

-Make sure life jackets are easily accessible and attach a plastic whistle to it.

-Be mindful of your speed, boats don’t have brakes.

-Don’t try to swim to shore if your boat sinks, stay near the vessel.

-Take a boating safety course if you plan on operating a vessel.

The Palm Beach boating accident lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Miami, Margate, West Palm Beach, Hollywood and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Email us or call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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