Two unrelated incidents off Fort De Soto Park at the end of April spotlight the hazards the public can face as warm spring weather moves in and people return to the water.
A 50-year-old paddle boarder has been missing since April 28 when his board was found near the north entrance of the Manatee River and his car found near Fort De Soto Park. The search has been called off, but officials still hope to locate the missing man.
The following day, a 56-year-old Clearwater woman apparently drowned in the waters near Fort De Soto’s North Beach picnic area.
While weather may not have been a factor in these two incidents, they do show people that they should exercise caution anytime they are in or near the waters, even during as placid a season as spring.
According to a Bay News 9 meteorologist, when cold fronts from winter continue to mesh with the warmer air and water spring brings, strong gusts and rip currents can be produced making it dangerous to swim or kayak or canoe or paddleboard in the open water.
Local safety experts warn the public that those erratic winds should be the top worry of anyone planning to venture into the water this spring.
Gusts of wind can create several problems for swimmers. They can create currents parallel to the shore that can carry swimmers along with them — and away from their part of the beach.
Even more perilous are strong rip currents that can sweep swimmers away from shore, and possibly fatigue those who try to fight.
Experts advise taking the following safety precautions into consideration before embarking on any water expedition:
• If operating a boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard always make a float plan. This provides
someone with the knowledge of where you’re going and the ability to call for help if you don’t
make it back in time.
• Everyone planning a day on the water needs to check the forecast, as well as the lifeguard flags that indicate swimming conditions.
• If caught in a rip current, do not try and swim against it. Do not panic. Swim parallel until the current lessens its hold on you.
• Know and respect your limitations.
Pasco County boasts more than 30 beaches, parks and preserves that provide residents and visitors with fantastic recreational opportunities. Unfortunately accidents where people play, swim and boat can and do occur. The Florida Personal Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton advocate on behalf of victims injured in boating, swimming and water park injury cases. If your water-related accident was the result of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation. At Whittel & Melton, we will aggressively fight for just compensation for your losses.
The Pasco County Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you recover compensation for personal injuries, wrongful deaths and other damages resulting from:
• Jet Ski Accidents
• Accidental Drowning
• Defective Safety Equipment
• Insufficient Warnings
• Swimming Pool Drain
• Charter Boat Accidents
• Pleasure Boat Accidents
• No Lifeguard on Duty
• Poorly Trained Lifeguards
• Inadequate Swimming Pool Design
• Motel and Hotel Swimming Pool Negligence
• Water Park Injuries
Most insurance adjusters involved in water-related accidents are trained to deny claims. Don’t let insurance adjusters take advantage of the situation by settling for low amounts. When you are involved in an accident, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. At Whittel & Melton, we will seek maximum compensation for your injuries. In the event of a death, we can assist family members of a loved one pursue a wrongful death claim. While we cannot change what happened, we can help you recover financial compensation so that you can focus your efforts on healing.