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Diver Safety: How to Stay Safe in Heavily Trafficked Waters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stated that on Sunday, June 8, 2014, a 26-year-old man was killed when he and a young woman were apparently struck by a boat while snorkeling near the Jupiter Inlet. The woman was treated and released.  The boat that collided with the snorkelers was reported to have stopped.

A similar incident happened just last January when a freediver claimed he was struck by a boat that did not stop. He suffered a torn hamstring and a broken pelvis.

Divers are required by Florida law to use a dive-down flag.  Likewise, boaters are also required to stay at least 300 feet away from these flags or put their boats idle if they are within 300 feet.   Recent legislation, yet to be signed by Governor Rick Scott and made into law, would make these flags more noticeable.  The bill requires that dive flags show the diver down symbol ( a red field with a diagonal white stripe on both sides), that the symbol be at least one square foot, and it also allows divers to display diver down buoys instead of flags.

Florida summers are always a little cooler when out on the water.  Whether you are driving or boating, being aware of your surroundings and taking the necessary precautions to protect everyone on the water is a must.  Choosing a proper spot to dive is just one of those precautions that must be adhered to.  Another precaution is for those captaining boats to be on the lookout for dive flags or buoys, and swimmers who neglect to use them.  While not all accidents can be avoided, most can be if everyone is paying attention and taking proper precautions.

If you have been hit by a boat while out in the water, don’t hesitate to call a maritime/admiralty attorney. Having someone on your side that knows how to navigate their way through a maritime claim will help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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