FWC Issues Safe Tubing Alert for Florida Boaters

by Carmen Dellutri on October 10, 2013

naples accident lawyerFollowing a string of tubing accidents, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently issued a safety alert to Florida boaters. It stresses the importance of proper safety precautions to reduce the risk of collision.

“Towed water sports can be a great way to enjoy Florida’s beautiful waterways,” said Maj. Richard Moore, head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Boating and Waterways Section. “We just want everyone to be as safe as possible when doing so.”

Tubing is a popular activity on Florida’s lakes, bays and other waterways. However, as we have previously discussed on this Florida Injury Blog, it can quickly become deadly. From 1991 through 2009, an estimated 69,471 injuries were treated in US emergency departments for water tubing-related injuries, according to a recent study. The annual number of cases increased 250 percent over the 19-year study period.

Last year alone, five people were injured and two were killed in Florida. Many of the accidents occurred when passengers on a towable device struck an object, such as a dock, channel marker, piling or other boat.

Tragically, most of the tubing accidents could have been prevented. “When you are operating a boat that is towing passengers on a tube or something similar, their fate is in your hands,” Moore said. “They are not able to steer themselves in a safe direction and must rely on you to keep them safe. The main safety consideration is keeping them away from all other objects.”

To avoid a potential collision, Moore urges boaters to keep the following tip in mind — twice the line should be fine. “If you consider the length of your towline and are diligent in keeping your boat at least two lengths of your towline away from all boats and other objects, you are much more likely to provide your riders with an enjoyable, safe time on the water,” he explains.

To make sure everyone stays safe, the FWC shares the following reminders:

  • Any riders being towed behind a vessel are required to wear a life jacket; however, it cannot be the inflatable style.
  • The boat operator must have another person onboard who can observe the rider(s) being towed and alert the operator of any issues. In place of the observer, the operator may use appropriate wide-angle rear-view mirrors. However, the safest bet is to use a “spotter” or observer. That way, the operator can concentrate on driving the boat and pay attention to what is in front of and around him or her. The spotter has a much better ability to watch the person being towed.
  • Boaters may pull riders on towable water sport items only during the day – from a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour past sunset.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Cape Coral boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Cape Coral injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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