Recent news headlines involving Florida boating accidents are a sobering reminder for all boat operators and passengers to put safety first and practice safe habits when operating watercraft off the Florida coastline, according to Florida boating accident attorney Charles Cartwright of Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A.
The Palm Beach Post reported that a boating safety course was held the on the first weekend of August ("Boating safety course in Palm Beach County," July 28), featuring a day-long class on Saturday and a 60-question written exam on Sunday. Upon completing the test, according to the article, boaters' passing grades would be registered by the state and Boating Safety Education ID Card issued within two weeks.
"In the wake of recent events involving teens who went missing at sea, events such as Palm Beach Power Squadron's boating safety course are more important than ever," said Cartwright. "We strongly encourage all boat operators in Florida to reinforce safe habits to ensure safety for themselves, their passengers and fellow boaters. A failure to operate boats and other water vessels safely can result in tragedy in a moment's notice."
Boating safety has been at the forefront of Florida news headlines in recent weeks. According to CNN ("Coast Guard search for missing Florida teens intensifies, but time is short," July 28), search efforts have been underway since late July to find Florida teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who went missing after their boat capsized. They were last seen in Jupiter, FL, according to the CNN article.
Earlier in the month, a Clay County boater was reported missing on Black Creek, according to a News 4 Jax article ("FWC: Missing Clay County boater's body found," July 24). The article states that the man was fishing with friends when an accident occurred. According to News 4 Jax, accidents on Black Creek are a common summer occurrence, with a man drowning last year while trying to swim across the river.
"Boating, swimming and drowning accidents are all-too-common in Florida, especially as people try to keep cool during the summer months," said Cartwright. "That's why it's so important to follow all necessary safety precautions and procedures when navigating Florida waterways. A failure to do so - or provide proper safety equipment to passengers - could lead to a severe accident and serious legal ramifications."