SCUBA and Snorkeling in South Florida
SCUBA and snorkeling is big business, particularly in South Florida, with its living coral reef and wreck diving sites. Each year thousands upon thousands of SCUBA divers and snorkelers travel to Florida to engage in these sports, especially in the warmer months.
SCUBA diving and snorkeling can be safe and fun activities with any inherent risk minimized by correct safety procedures being followed. However, both of these activities are potentially dangerous when those safety procedures are ignored. And the problem with SCUBA and snorkeling accidents is that they can easily result in grave injury, or even death.
There are very good reasons why anyone wishing to dive must complete and pass a complete diving certification course. These courses address the risks and safety issues in involved in diving. And yet, across the United States, hundreds of people are injured in SCUBA diving accidents— and an average of over 70 U.S. divers die each year from those injuries.
Many of these SCUBA diving accidents occur because of not following recognized safety procedures, poorly maintained equipment, inadequate supervision, or insufficient training.
Professional Dive and Snorkeling Companies Owe Their Customers Responsibility
Dive and snorkel companies must assume responsibility for the people in their parties. This means following established safety protocols and ensuring that all divers or snorkelers in their care follow the rules as well. Professional diving companies should follow the U.S. Coast Guard Diving Regulations.
When human error or negligence rears its head in a SCUBA or snorkeling accident, accidents are more likely to follow. Dive or snorkeling trip companies can behave negligently:
- Improper supervision
- Failure to ascertain diver certification
- Allowing dive in unsafe diving conditions
- Defective or improperly maintained equipment
- Failure to use diver down flag and mark diving/snorkeling area
And the accidents that can occur can be devastating:
- Divers or snorkelers left behind by boat
- Divers or snorkelers hit by watercraft
- Divers running out of air
- Divers or snorkelers carried away by strong current
- Nitrogen Narcosis (The Bends)
In South Florida, it is true that most divers and snorkelers are required to sign liability waivers and releases before they are allowed to dive or snorkel with the company. And it is also true that many courts have upheld these releases, citing the fact that the diver waived the right to sue. But not all courts uphold all releases in all cases—and negligence may exist that makes the release inapplicable.
Diving and Snorkeling Accidents and Attorneys
It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a SCUBA or snorkeling accident. Your attorney will investigate, among other things, the safety record of the company providing the service, the personnel involved, the equipment used, and the conditions. Attorneys can use medical records to document injuries and professional testimony stating what caused the injury and why.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a Florida SCUBA or snorkeling accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a SCUBA or snorkeling accident—the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you.
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Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of maritime accidents in Florida.
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