Boating safety is essential, especially when faced with tragic incidents like the recent drowning accident we’ll be covering today. This sobering tale highlights the dire consequences of overlooking safety measures on the water. Let’s explore the details of this heart-wrenching boating mishap… and then use it as a reason to remember the importance of staying vigilant to prevent such tragedies.

Tourist Falls From a Charter Boat Along the Miami River

A 23-year-old tourist named Trevonte Johnson drowned after falling off a charter boat and into the Miami River, according to recent reports. Johnson had been visiting Miami with friends from Mississippi. While on the water, Trevonte fell from the boat, into the water. Nearby, witness Fernando Veliz heard screams from the boat and attempted a rescue. Unfortunately, drowning often happens all too quickly. He was not able to save Johnson.

In an interview with NBC Miami, Veliz expressed his deep regret. Though he tried valiantly to save the victim, he was unable to reach Johnson in time. Veliz’s account serves as a poignant reminder of human compassion and the unpredictable nature of the open water.

To read this full story and watch Veliz’s interview at NBC Miami.

Navigating the Waters of Boating Safety

As we said earlier, it is never easy to write the stories. The loss of human life is always heartbreaking. Even with friends onboard and an attempted rescuer, the open water can become overwhelming far too quickly.

For our readers, we urge that boating safety should be treated with the same respect as pool safety. Like any recreational activity, boating comes with its own set of risks. From unpredictable weather conditions to mechanical failures, there are numerous factors that can turn a day of fun into a dangerous situation.

That’s why prioritizing safety is paramount for every boater, even if you’re not at the helm. Keeping that in mind, let’s take this tragic story as a reminder of some essential boating safety tips.

Do you know how to stay safe on a pontoon boat?

1. Preparing to Set Sail

Before departing, it’s crucial to make sure that both you and your craft are properly equipped and ready for the journey ahead. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Check the Weather: Always check (and double-check) the forecast before heading out. Sudden storms can pose serious risks to boaters, so it’s essential to be aware of any potential changes in weather conditions.
  • Inspect Your Vessel: Conduct a thorough inspection of your boat, paying close attention to the engine, fuel levels, navigation lights, and safety equipment such as life jackets, flares, and fire extinguishers. If any issues are detected, address them before leaving the dock. If necessary, ask a professional for help.
  • Never Forget Your Float Plan: It’s essential to inform someone on land about your boating plans. Even if you’re headed out with friends, you’ll want someone onshore to know where you are. A float plan should include your intended route and estimated time of return.

Don't Swim at a Marina or Boatyard

2. Bring the Right Safety Equipment

Having the right safety equipment on board can mean the difference between a minor mishap and a major disaster. Here’s what every boater should pack:

  • Life Jackets: Ensure that there are enough properly fitting life jackets for everyone on board. It’s not enough to simply have them on the boat – they must be worn while underway, especially for children and inexperienced swimmers.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Keep at least one Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher on board and ensure that all passengers know its location and how to use it.
  • First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit can be a lifesaver in the event of an injury or medical emergency while on the water.

3. Stay Alert at All Times

Navigating a boat requires skill and attention to detail. Always operate your boat at a safe speed. Be sure to keep a lookout for other vessels, obstacles, and changes in the environment. Avoid distractions such as phones or loud music that can impair your ability to navigate safely.


Remember, water safety should always come first. Again, it’s always depressing to report these sad stories. But, in some small way, they serve as a firm reminder of how fragile life is and how quickly tragedy can strike. Boating can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to prioritize safety at all times.