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Boating Safety Tips and Florida Boating Accident Statistics

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 30, 2011

Florida’s boating season never really ends, but this is the time of year that traffic starts getting heavy on our state’s waterways. With that in mind, Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham would like to remind boaters and passengers about some basic boating safety rules. First, Florida law states that anyone aboard a watercraft on state waters must have a United States Coast Guard-approved flotation device easily accessible. Only those aged six years and younger must wear a flotation device at all times, but recent high-profile drowning deaths serve as a sober reminder that it is very risky to go boating without a life vest no matter how good a swimmer you may be.

If you operate a boat that is 16 feet or longer off the coast or in any of our state’s intracoastal waterways, you must have a throwable cushion or ring onboard in case someone goes overboard. These are also known as “Type-4” flotation devices. Life vests are very inexpensive, and conscientious boat owners should make sure to have at least one for every person aboard their vessels. To illustrate the importance of taking proper safety precautions while boating, consider the following Florida boating accident statistics:

•    Sixty-five people died in Florida boating accidents in 2009 with 85 percent of the victims aged 21 and over.

•    According to the Florida Department of Health, an astonishing 485 people drowned in Florida in 2009 with 72 percent aged 25 and over.

•    Of those drowning victims, 73 percent were described as capable swimmers.

As you can see, being a strong swimmer is not enough to prevent anyone from becoming a drowning victim. With so many boating accidents on Florida waterways each year, it is in everyone’s best interests to review boating rules and regulations. For information, please visit the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at

If you are one of the many people injured in Florida boating accidents each year and have questions about your rights and legal options, call Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 to schedule a consultation. The consultation is free and confidential, and Mr. Cunningham answers questions in plain language so that you can make informed decisions about your options. He has been helping injured people since 1977. Call today to get his experience and skills on your side!

James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 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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