Boating is one of the most popular recreational activities in Florida. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous. According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, ranks number one in the nation for both boating accidents and boating fatalities. In recent years, has actually had more than one-and-a-half times the number of accidents as the state that ranked second on the list.
The data also show that:
- In 2014, there were 634 reportable boating accidents in (down slightly from 685 in 2013).
- More than 50 percent of accidents involving a personal watercraft involve a collision with another vessel.
- Nearly five percent of personal watercraft accidents involve fatalities.
- Alcohol and drug-use play a role in 12 percent of all watercraft fatalities.
- Eighty-two percent of the operators involved in fatal accidents have no formal boater education.
Boating Accidents: Who is At-Fault?
While many negligent boaters may like to blame their vessels, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the majority of accidents are actually the result of driver error. In fact, the three most common causes of boating accidents in Florida are:
- Operator inexperience
- Failure to maintain proper lookout
- Operator inattention
As noted above, alcohol or drug-use are common factors in boating accidents as well. When these and other forms of boater error are to blame, victims (and, in cases involving fatalities, their families) can often seek financial compensation for their losses.
Rules of the Water
Just as there are rules of the road in Florida, there are rules of the water. While violating the rules is not necessarily grounds to file a claim for compensation after a boating accident, in many cases failure to follow the rules will point to negligent behavior that makes the violator financially responsible for the victims’ injuries.
Some of the basic rules for boating in Florida include:
- Generally, operators of vessels with 10 or more horsepower who were born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a valid Boating Safety Education ID card. (Note, however, that there are several exemptions.)
- Out-of-state visitors generally must obtain a temporary certificate in order to rent a boat in Florida.
- Ordinarily, adults should not allow any children under the age of 14 to operate a vessel on any waters.
Have You Been Involved in a Boating Accident? We Will Help You Demand More® for Your Losses
At Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers, we provide experienced legal representation for boating accident victims in Palm Beach County. We have offices conveniently located in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, and West Palm Beach, and we offer free initial consultations to all potential clients. If you would like find out if you may be entitled to compensation after a boating accident, call me Brian D. Guralnick, personally at (561) 202-6673, or our firm online today.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.