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Florida Boaters Urged to Prevent Drowning Accidents

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 27, 2011

Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham warns that the recent drowning death of a man who was a champion wrestler, experienced boater and capable swimmer highlights the need for all Florida boaters to practice boating safety. He also urges boaters to ensure that they have safety equipment on their watercraft as our state’s boating season gets underway in the coming weeks. The drowning victim was a 30-year-old man in excellent physical condition, but, when his boat capsized on Lake Rochelle in Lake Alfred, he was unable to swim to shore.

Eric Lyle, a First Class Boatswain’s Mate with the U.S. Coast Guard, recommends that boaters have whistles, flares and mirrors onboard to signal rescuers after a boat capsizes or is involved in other types of boating accidents. He also warns that being physically fit and a good swimmer is no guarantee that accident victims will be able to swim to safety.

“Any time you’re involved in a stressful situation, like a boating accident, your energy levels are going to spike, and you’re going to use up energy much faster than you normally would,” he said. “So though you may be in really great shape and may be able to swim two or three miles under unstressful circumstances, in a stressful situation you’re burning up energy much faster.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials agree. Their statistics indicate that 73 percent of the people who died in Florida boating accidents in 2009 were very capable swimmers. FWC officials would also like to remind boaters that flotation equipment is of little use unless boaters are wearing it. Although there were flotation devices in the recent drowning victim’s boat, neither he nor anyone else onboard was wearing one when the boat capsized. After the victim and his 10-year-old son went into the water, the boy was able to grab the vest, put it on and swim safely to shore.

Certainly, this man’s drowning is a tragedy, but many such tragedies can be avoided if proper safety procedures are followed. It’s a good idea for all boaters to read through Florida boating regulations, which can be found at the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: www.myfwc.com/boating. If you’re involved in a boating accident caused by a negligent boater, it’s a good idea to call an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney like Mr. Cunningham to protect your rights and advise you of your legal options. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 today.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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