FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Called the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is home to a maze of waterways. The series of the New River, cutting through downtown, has become increasingly popular among kayakers and paddleboarders. But at what risk?
According to Water Taxi owner Bill Walker, there have been a lot of “close calls” on the New River between these non-motorized watercraft and boats. Walker worries that these enthusiasts are putting themselves and others at risk due to an apparent obliviousness to threats posed by heavy boat traffic.
Owner of Precision Paddleboards, Josh Vajda, rents boards to people interested in cruising the calm river and taking in the sites of the city.
Says Vajda, “If we’re concerned, we don’t rent. For instance, during Jazz Brunch, by about 1 p.m., we cease rentals because there are so many boats that are docking.” It would seem that both taxi drivers and those responsible for doling out paddleboards to the masses share the same concerns.
While New River offers an amazing experience for operators of any type of watercraft, it is important that people keep their eyes open and be respectful of one another. According to officials in Fort Lauderdale, boats navigate New River at no wake, offering plenty of time to alter course in order to avoid accidents.
Anyone operating a paddleboard or kayak on the river should be aware that there are no ladders on the walls of the riverbanks. There are also outflows from pump stations, large boats docking on both sides of the river, and heavy boat traffic at times that can be moving in both directions.
If you choose to take a paddleboard or kayak on New River, be mindful of these potential risks. You are the only person who can ensure your safety.
If you have been involved in a boating accident on New River or elsewhere in Fort Lauderdale, an experienced attorney can assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve. Contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your case now!