Florida has access to many beautiful waters on which to boat. Many residents and tourists enjoy fishing, cruises and other activities while riding on watercrafts. Unfortunately, boat accidents are not uncommon. Last year there were over 600 of them.

When you hear boat accident, you may imagine two crafts crashing into each other at high speeds. This scenario is entirely possible, but it’s also important to recognize other hazards that can cause accidents. Underwater rocks, sunken debris, shallows and large marine life can also be the cause of collisions.

Steps to take

Being in any type of accident, automobile, watercraft or otherwise, can be a terrifying and disorienting experience. The unique danger that is present in boating collisions is water. That’s why all riders should wear a life jacket. If you find yourself involved in an accident, you should:

  • Attend to your physical safety first, then assist others. If the impact knocked someone into the water, throw them a flotation device. Do not jump in to save them; they may accidentally pull you underwater.
  • Call 911 and report what occurred.
  • Take photos and videos of the scene as evidence. Both are important for insurance claims and may be needed if you need to go to court.
  • File an accident report if there have been severe injuries or boat damage.

Preventing accidents

There can be many causes of boat accidents. The following can increase the likelihood of an incident and should be avoided:

  • Reckless driving
  • Inattentiveness
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Unfamiliarity with area
  • Dark or stormy conditions

While you can’t control the behavior of other boaters, you can do everything in your power to stay safe. Avoid these dangers to lower your chances of being involved in an accident.