As a law firm in the Sunshine State, water safety has become a hallmark of DCY’s commitment to our community. As trial attorneys, we have seen cases of catastrophic injuries in children and we know that the key to preventing tragedy is by prioritizing safety. We believe in fostering a community where children can flourish, but where the safety of a child is never taken for granted. Most of all, we believe organizations should prioritize corporate social responsibility and invest in the communities they serve by making them a safer place for families.
Water safety is important because in Florida we are surrounded by bodies of water, from pools, ponds, canals, and lakes, to intercostal waterways and of course the ocean. For this reason, Water Safety Awareness month in Florida requires extra attention because awareness of this issue can have a lifesaving impact on our community.
The most common injury that comes to mind when thinking of water safety is drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 years old. Unfortunately, most of these incidents occur in people’s backyards when their guard is down; this is why supervision of children around any body of water is extremely important and why swimming lessons should be a priority for every family. Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa has supported water safety organizations like Live Like Jake and the Adaptive Aquatics Swim Program hosted by the City of Palm Beach Gardens for several years. Live Like Jake is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of water safety and providing swim lessons to families in need. The Adaptive Aquatics program is responsible for certifying instructors and teaching special needs children on the fundamentals of swimming.
Other common injuries that occur on the water are boat-related and jet-ski-related injuries. Boating accidents are extremely common in Florida as we currently have the highest number of registered water vehicles in the United States. When these accidents occur, it can be due to a number of reasons such as:
- Distracted Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Drugs or Alcohol
- Lack of education or experience in operating the vessel
A 2018 report from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission found that 77% of the operators involved in boating accidents that year completely lacked formal boater education. Most of these accidents therefore may have been preventable with the proper education and experience.
Personal watercraft, such as jet-skis, have a higher collision rate than any other watercraft. Studies have found that these accidents make up almost one-third of all reported boating accidents and 36% of all boating injuries. This may be attributed to the false sense of security that novice users have with these vessels. Some may think that because they are small, they are easier to operate than a larger watercraft like a boat, but most jet-skis have a lot more throttle than people expect leading inexperienced operators to lose control and crash.
At Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa we strive to not only do right by our clients but right by our community. For Water Safety Awareness month, we urge you to familiarize yourself with the safety protocols of any water activity you participate in. If you suffer an injury because of someone else’s negligence on the water, please let us know so we can help.
For more information on water safety check out the websites below:
Adaptive Aquatics of Palm Beach Gardens: https://www.pbgfl.com/600/Aquatics
Live Like Jake: https://livelikejake.com
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission: https://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/courses/
Water Smart FL: http://www.watersmartfl.com
Drowning Prevention Coalition of PBC: https://discover.pbcgov.org/drowningprevention/Pages/default.aspx