MIAMI, Florida–Florida remains one of the leading states in the country regarding fatalities associated with recreational boating and water sport accidents.In this recent tragedy reported by various news outlets, it is reported that a 15-year-old boy from Vero Beach, Florida died after being thrown out of a 17-foot Boston Whaler boat that was driven by another young teenager in the Indian River Lagoon.
The boat involved in this accident was towing another person who was either water skiing or wakeboarding at the time. How fast the boat was going is unknown at this time but apparently it had some type of wake causing the boy to be ejected and knocked unconscious. The early reports indicate he was not wearing a life jacket. Efforts were made for search and rescue, and the United States Coast Guard was involved. His body was found in the lagoon later that afternoon.
This is a very sad story. The young man was reported by fellow students to be well-liked, and had just recently made the varsity football team at his high school. It saddens me to hear that a case like this will simply add another number to the statistics of fatalities involving boating accidents here in the state of Florida. Once an investigation is completed we will know the true cause of this unfortunate tragedy, a needless death of a young man who obviously had a very bright future.
Florida is a popular area for recreational boating and water sports. However, a lot of care needs to be taken by parents and everyone else to make sure that operators of the of these boats are experienced and have taken the available safety courses from the United States Coast Guard. In Florida, you must be at least 14 years old to operate a boat, which is two years younger that the legal driving age. This does not mean that the dangers of boating should be underestimated as compared to driving a car. There are many uncontrollable factors at play when driving a boat. These dangerous instrumentalities can result in a quick tragedy simply by hitting a wave or an object in the water, a sudden veering of the boat from one side to the next, or from colliding into another boat, which is a lot of responsibility for anyone especially a young teenager.
Young teenagers should not be allowed to operate boats unless under the supervision of an adult and only after gaining a lot of experience operating the boat. In addition, everyone should would be wearing their lifejackets. Life jackets can in fact save lives for those involved in boating accidents. When an accident on the water happens, the victims are sometimes thrown into the water as we saw in this tragedy in Florida. If any kind of trauma or injury had occurred when an accident happens, the person may not be capable of staying afloat. That is where a life jacket would come in handy. According to the most recently released U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics Report , of the total number of boating accident victims who drowned, 85% of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
We not only need more people to comply with the boating rules but we also need better enforcement of these rules on the water. Our love and condolences are extended to the family of this young man, and we pray that they will get the needed support, and strength and courage to deal with this enormous tragedy involving the loss of this young man.