May is National Water Safety Month. Coordinated by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) with support from the American Red Cross, National Recreation and Park Association, and World Waterpark Association, National Water Safety Month is a campaign designed to promote awareness of the risks associated with all types of water-related activities. This includes everything from swimming and diving to boating and riding jet skis.

Each Miami maritime lawyer at Brais Law is committed to helping promote water safety. As a result of what we do, we understand the risks associated with water-related activities all too well. We are proud to help promote the message behind National Water Safety Month, and we encourage others to spread the word as well.

About National Water Safety Month

Recognized each May, National Water Safety Month is intended to help save lives during the summer recreation season. Since it is coordinated by the PHTA, National Water Safety Month focuses primarily on swimming and diving. But, the campaign recognizes the risks associated with other types of water-related activities as well—and all of these activities present risks when people aren’t being as careful as they should be.

For National Water Safety Month, the PHTA publishes several free resources online. These include Safety Tips as well as resources for consumers and parents. There is also a Safe Swimmer’s Pledge, and those who take the pledge can download a free Safe Swimmer Certificate.  

The PHTA also offers these five simple rules for safe swimming:

  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Follow directions from adults or lifeguards on duty, as well as the rules of the pool, home or water park at which you’re swimming.
  • Avoid running, pushing and diving on a pool deck or near water.
  • Learn the basics of swimming.
  • Call for help if you are in trouble.

These rules can be applied equally to other water-related activities. When boating or riding a jet ski, for example, it is always a good idea to use the buddy system, and boaters and jet ski operators should never exceed their capabilities. This means that they need to know the basics of safe operation, and they should avoid waters and maneuvers that they don’t know how to handle competently. Boaters and jet ski operators should always have a way to call for help as well—whether a cell phone, VHF radio or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

While National Water Safety Month is designed to promote awareness as summer approaches, as the PHTA notes, “safety isn’t seasonal.” Water-related accidents can—and do—happen year-round. As a result, hotels, resorts, waterparks, cruise lines, rental companies and other businesses need to prioritize safety at all times, and parents, swimmers, boaters and other individuals need to do their part to prevent accidents whenever they are on, in or near the water.

Understanding the Risks Associated with Water-Related Activities

Several factors can significantly increase the risk of accidents involving water-related activities. For example, some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Alcohol Impairment – Alcohol impairment is a leading cause of serious and fatal accidents involving all types of water-related activities. Consuming alcohol can significantly impair a person’s ability to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft. Individuals who are drunk also may not be able to save themselves or others from drowning.
  • Drug Impairment – Drug use can have similar effects to alcohol consumption. With many states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, accidents involving marijuana are becoming increasingly common. Prescription medications and other drugs can cause significant impairment as well.
  • Hazardous Water or Weather Conditions – Hazardous water and weather conditions can lead to accidents at pools and waterparks as well as on lakes, rivers and the open ocean. This includes everything from bad water chemistry to lightning, and from huge swells to high winds.
  • Horseplay – Horseplay is, unfortunately, a common factor in accidents involving water-related activities. Even when no one intends for anyone to get hurt, things can quickly go wrong anytime there is water involved.
  • Inadequate Training or Supervision – Inadequate training of lifeguards, boat captains and others can give swimmers and boaters a false sense of security. In many cases, they don’t know they are in danger until it is too late. Inadequate supervision is also a common factor in many swimming accidents, especially those involving children.
  • Inexperience – In addition to inadequate training, inexperience is a common, dangerous and preventable factor in many types of water-related accidents. Even if a lifeguard has gone through a training course and received a certification, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is equipped to handle a real-world scenario. The same is true for boaters, jet ski riders and others.
  • PoorlyMaintained or Defective Equipment – Inadequate maintenance and product defects can create dangerous situations even if everyone is being safe during water-related activities. Inadequate pool and boat maintenance, defective pool drains, defective jet ski design, and numerous other issues lead to far too many serious and fatal accidents each year.

Understanding Your Legal Rights After a Swimming, Boating or Jet Ski Accident

While we encourage everyone to be safe on and in the water, we also know that accidents are still going to happen. As a result, we also encourage everyone to know what to do in the event that something goes wrong. When water-related accidents happen, victims and families can often seek financial compensation, and recovering this compensation can be critical for moving on.

With this in mind, after a water-related accident it is important to seek medical treatment and speak with a Miami maritime lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can walk you through everything you need to know; and, if you have a claim, your lawyer can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Request a Free Consultation with a Miami Maritime Lawyer at Brais Law

If you need to speak with a Miami maritime lawyer about a water-related accident, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free consultation as soon as possible, call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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