Boaters Hospitalized On New Year’s Eve - 01/30/2008
It’s fun to be boating on New Year’s Eve, but are the other boaters sober? Are you?

What is bound to happen when you run out of gas in the ICW channel on New Year’s Eve in South Florida? You guessed it. Read about the inevitable with a happy ending.

Venezia said, "We ran out of gas, the boat stalled, and I heard a boat coming up the Intracoastal, fast. I saw it. We waved and said, `Stop! Stop!' We were yelling, and flashing lights. They couldn't hear us, I guess.''

The group ran to the back of the boat and jumped overboard just before the bigger boat struck them broadside. ''The impact hit the side of the boat,'' said Rodrigo Rodriguez. "The big boat kept going over us. We were like a speed bump to them.'' The smaller boat's owner and girlfriend were taken to a hospital with lacerations.

After the collision, the big boat came back and stopped. The port side of the smaller boat was heavily damaged.

Venezia said they were, ''happy to be alive, thank God.'' The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.

How to avoid being rundown at night?

  • Check your fuel level before leaving the dock and make sure you have enough.

  • Put all passengers in life jackets.

  • Do not drive faster than you can see clearly.

  • Assume other boaters are on the water and are driving too fast and don’t see you.

  • Depending on your location, assume that other night-time boaters have been drinking, most particularly on New Year’s Eve.

  • Post a lookout for other boats. Running lights are hard to see, particularly in the ICW.

  • If you are unavoidably stopped in a channel consider the danger and the best response. Perhaps you should light a flare, certainly all lights should be on, and you should flash warning lights.

  • Call the USCG on channel 16. You have become a hazard to navigation and you must alert the boating community.

  • Be proactive. Do something positive to get your boat out of harms way, which means paddle, ask for a tow, become a Christmas Tree.