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Enjoy Palm Beach County’s Waterways This Fourth of July Holiday Weekend With Safe Boating

Many consider Memorial Day weekend to be the official start to the boating season, but in Florida, it always seems to be boating season, with our beautiful weather and the ocean, waterways and lakes. So, West Palm Beach Boating Accident Lawyers warn boaters to take extra precautions to be safe this holiday weekend while enjoying your watercraft.

But as we approach the Fourth of July holiday weekend, more boaters than ever will likely be enjoying the spray of the water and the warm weather South Florida has to offer. But as the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission points out, boating accidents in Palm Beach County are common. With more than 940,000 registered vessels in Florida, the opportunity for collisions is there.

According to data compiled in 2010, Palm Beach County ranked third in the state in boating accidents. Of the 60 reported accidents, six involved fatalities and 18 accidents included injured passengers.

And we have seen such devastation right here in our community. CBS News reported recently that two 16-year-old boys were arrested on charges related to a boating accident that caused a teenage girl to lose part of her leg.

According to officials, the teens traveled into a designated swimming only area and ignored warnings to leave, plus they didn’t tell law enforcement of the accident, where the girl’s leg got caught in the propeller as she tried to climb into the boat.

These types of severe injuries are devastating, but avoidable. FWC says most of the accidents in 2010 — about one third of them — were caused by operator inattention. Excessive speed and alcohol use were also heavy factors in Palm Beach County boating accidents. Mostly open and cabin motorboats were involved in the accidents, but also personal watercraft.

As boaters know, an injury on the water can be more serious than an injury on land for several reasons. For one, the possibility of drowning exists. If a person suffers severe injuries and is rendered unconscious, there is always the risk that they could die. Florida’s 68 fatalities in 2010 was tops in the nation, not something for which to be proud. July 2010 was the second-deadliest month last year, while the majority of boating deaths occurred in the late afternoon and evening hours.

According to FWC research, 62 percent of those killed in boating accidents drowned. Another 34 percent died of some type of trauma, while in 4 percent of cases, the cause isn’t known. Regardless of the cause, it’s obvious that boating can be dangerous.

And what adds to the seriousness of the situation is dealing with emergency crew response times. With thousands of boats on the water and limited resources by the U.S. Coast Guard, local law enforcement marine units and others, getting help may take a while. And that’s why being extra cautious is that much more important. We want you to enjoy yourselves and the only way to do that is to be safe.

The boating accident lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC represent victims and their families in Margate, Miami, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, call 1-800-561-7777 today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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