Top Dangers for Miami Snorkelers
Snorkeling is one of Florida’s great aquatic pastimes, with thousands of Floridians and tourists taking to the open water each year. Like any other sporting activity, however, snorkeling carries certain risks. These are risks that the public and tourism companies, in particular, must keep in mind. At the office of Michael F. Guilford, P.A., we help injured people recover compensation for the negligence of others. This includes snorkelers and scuba divers who are injured by careless boaters and tour companies that fail to abide by basic safety rules.
Top Dangers for Miami Snorkelers
Among some of the bigger dangers, snorkelers are often injured in the following ways:
- Drowning, due to inexperience or improper equipment and training
- Injuries from boat propellers
- Traumas caused by personal watercrafts, like jet skis
- Injuries caused by aquatic life
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, between 2005 and 2013, there were 636 injuries caused by propellers striking divers, snorkelers and swimmers. There were also 38 deaths associated with propeller strikes. This often happens when excursion companies take groups out to go snorkeling or diving and fail to use the correct dive flags and other alerts to put boaters on notice that there are divers in the area.
Often inexperienced or untrained boater do not recognize or understand the meaning of dive flags and signals and get too close to the dive area.
In addition, drunk or distracted boaters may simply not be thinking about swimmers, especially in open water areas further from the coast. This can lead to high-speed impacts resulting in serious injuries or death.
Personal Watercraft Accidents
In addition to boats with propellers, there are plenty of watercrafts that operate off of a water propulsion method, where water is sucked in and then pushed back out. Therefore, these personal watercrafts do not have a propeller. However, they can move very fast. Many snorkelers have been fatally injured by inattentive jet ski operators who fail to see them swimming. When a jet ski strikes a human, the fiberglass hull can cause broken bones and a concussion. Many times, the swimmer or snorkeler is knocked unconscious, leading to drowning.
Dive Company Negligence
Many companies throughout south Florida operate tourism businesses that market to out-of-town guests who are seeking the thrill of diving or snorkeling off the coast. These companies have a legal duty to understand the dangers, use appropriate warning flags and dive markers, avoid high traffic areas like the intercoastal waterway and shipping channels, and to ensure all equipment is properly maintained.
Even where a company tries to say that an injured person signed a “waiver” of liability, this does not always absolve the company of wrongdoing. Therefore, it’s important to speak with an attorney who understands maritime injuries and the unique laws that apply. If you or someone you love is injured while snorkeling, diving, or swimming in or around Miami, give Michael F. Guilford, P.A. a call today. Consultations are always free, and we only get paid if we are able to help you recover money for your injuries. But the law restricts how long you can wait to seek justice. If you wait too long, your rights may be lost forever.